Updated: 26 minutes ago Published: 26 minutes ago
Alaska reported 879 COVID-19 cases over two days on Friday as virus-related hospitalizations continued to decline statewide.
The state no longer updates its coronavirus dashboard on holidays, meaning the latest number of cases included cases reported for both Thursday and Friday.
The numbers reflect a recent and gradual decline in the number of cases in Alaska — state data showed a 26% decrease in the number of cases in the past week compared to the week before.
As of Friday, 124 people were hospitalized with COVID-19, state dashboard data shows, with about 14% of the state’s hospitalized patients considered active cases.
That’s a significant drop from a peak of more than 200 people in hospital on average since September, and the lowest number the state has recorded since August.
Crisis standards of care are still officially turned on in about 20 of Alaska’s hospitals, but hospital officials have said declining numbers of COVID-positive patients have meant facilities have not had to act on those standards in recent weeks.
Some hospitals still have relatively high numbers of patients, but transfers between hospitals are much easier than they were a few weeks ago and staff and resources feel less strained than before, hospital officials say.
Beginning in July, a wave of viruses, driven by the highly contagious delta strain, caused a surge in hospitalizations and deaths around Alaska — primarily among the unvaccinated — and brought the health care system to a breaking point.
The consequences of that wave are still being confirmed. While no new deaths from COVID-19 were reported Thursday or Friday, the state reported 90 additional deaths earlier in the week, most of them in September and October 2021 — the deadliest months of the Alaskan pandemic to date.
Deaths from COVID-19 do not always appear immediately in the state’s virus data. Sometimes they don’t appear until health officials review death certificates, a process that can sometimes take several weeks.
In total, the state has reported 801 COVID-19 deaths among residents and 30 among non-residents living in the state.
Alaska’s seven-day sickness rate — at 412.4 per 100,000, or about 2 1/2 times the national average — is now the third highest among the U.S. states, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Some Alaskan communities, such as the Savoonga Native Village on St. Lawrence Island, continue to experience outbreaks. About 15% of the remote community of about 500 residents had COVID-19 as of Wednesday, KNOM reported.
The proportion of COVID-19 testing that returned positive results was 7.1% on a seven-day moving average on Friday, down from a peak of more than 10% in mid-October.
Of Alaska residents 5 years and older, 59% have now received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, state data shows.
Parents looking for pediatric vaccine options from providers in the Anchorage area can look up those designations at anchoragecovidvaccin.org, which lists many, but not all, of the available vaccine providers.
All Alaska residents can also call the state’s coronavirus helpline at 907-646-3322 for help finding and making an appointment. This telephone line is monitored on weekdays from 9:00 AM to 6:30 PM and on weekends from 9:00 AM to 4:30 PM.