Alaska confirmed cases of COVID-19 reaches 114

29 more people diagnosed in two days, one in long-term care facility

Twelve new cases of novel coronavirus in Alaska were confirmed on Sunday, March 29, all in communities with existing patients, boosting the statewide total to 114.

The Alaska Department of Health and Social Services also reported the death of a third COVID-19 patient, a 73-year-old Anchorage resident who tested positive on March 23 and was admitted to an Anchorage hospital, then passed away the night of March 28.

DHSS officials said the newly diagnosed people included four each in Anchorage and Fairbanks and one each in Eagle River, North Pole, Juneau and Ketchikan.

Five of the new cases are adults over the age of 60, two are adults aged 30-59, four are ages 19-29 and one is under 18. Of that group, six are female and six are male. Six of the newly infected are close contacts of previously diagnosed cases, one is travel-related and five are still under investigation, DHSS officials said.

Seventeen new cases were confirmed on Saturday, March 28, including Anchorage 10, Fairbanks 3, and one each in Eagle River, North Pole, Homer and Soldotna, again all communities where other cases already existed.

DHSS officials identified communities that have had laboratory-confirmed cases as Anchorage, including Joint Base Elmendorf Richardson, Eagle River/Chugiak, Girdwood, Fairbanks, North Pole, Homer, Juneau, Ketchikan, Palmer, Seward, Soldotna and Sterling.

Those being treated include one resident of a long-term care facility in Fairbanks.

State epidemiologist Dr. Joe McLaughlin said that the facility owned by Foundation Health Partners was working to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

“They are working closely with our epidemiologists to determine which residents and staff are at highest risk for exposure and implementing control measures that are consistent with national guidelines,” he said.

Those cases brought the statewide total to Anchorage and Joint Base Elmendorf Richardson 53, Fairbanks 20, Ketchikan 13, North Pole 8, Juneau 5, Eagle River/Chugiak 5, Homer, 2 Palmer 2, Sterling 2, and Girdwood and Seward 1 each.

The death toll of Alaskans from COVID-19 currently also includes one person who was being treated for an underlying illness at the Alaska Native Medical Center and a Petersburg resident who died in Washington state, where he was being treated for other medical issues.

State and local government officials are admonishing all Alaskans to wash hands frequently, keeping hands off of the face, keep a minimal six feet of space between themselves and others who are not immediate family and wipe down all frequently touched surfaces.

Also, in effect are statewide mandates for everyone entering Alaska, including residents coming home, to quarantine themselves for 14 days at home. Those battling respiratory infections, even with mild symptoms, are asked to isolate themselves from others and to call ahead if they need medical attention.