Alaska: New daily COVID-19 cases down, but still in triple digits

Male resident of the Yukon-Koyukuk census area is latest to succumb to virus

One hundred and four more people have been diagnosed with the novel coronavirus, boosting the overall count to 2,622 Alaskans and 584 nonresidents, the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services said on Monday, July 27.

The state report also included the death of a male resident of the Yukon-Koyukuk Census Area in his 60s who had preexisting conditions.

Thirty-six patients diagnosed with COVID-19 are currently hospitalized and an additional two patients are under investigation while 817 people have recovered.

New resident cases were in 21 communities, including Anchorage with 60 new cases. Others included Palmer four; three each in Fairbanks, Eagle River, Juneau, Northwest Arctic Borough , Utqiagvik and Wasilla; two each in Kenai, Kotzebue and Sitka, and one each in Chugiak, Cordova, Craig, Homer, Kusilvak Census Area, Soldotna, Valdez-Cordova Census Area, Willow, Yakutat Borough/Hoonah-Angoon Census Area combined and Unalaska. 

Six more nonresidents tested positive, including one seafood worker in Anchorage, one person in the Ketchikan Gateway Borough and four others in unidentified locations.

On Sunday, July 26, DHSS reported a new daily high of 231 people, including 186 Alaskans and 45 nonresidents.

DHSS officials said that the record high case count of July 26 can be attributed to a variety of factors, including widespread community transmission from social gatherings, several large seafood industry outbreaks and a backlog of test results that were just entered into the database. Over half of these results are initially submitted via fax, and some are reported by phone, which requires manual verification and then data entry into the data hub. Test results arrive in batches and are not always submitted daily, which can add to the backlog.

The high case count is partly due to the DHSS team working to enter this backlogged data, but it also clearly shows we are experiencing widespread community transmission, said DHSS Commissioner Adam Crum.

“Daily cases over 100 will soon diminish our hospital bed capacity,” Crum warned. He urged Alaskans to keep their social circles small, maintain 6 feet of distance from others, and wear a face covering when 6 feet can’t be maintained.

Due to an issue with importing electronic data, no lab updates were available on July 27. As of July 26, 207,264 tests had been conducted. The average percentage of daily positive test for the previous three days as of July 23 was 1.91 percent.

Updates on the impact of COVID-19 are posted daily at coronavirus-response-alaska-dhss.hub.arcgis.com.

For Cordova updates, visit the city’s COVID-19 dashboard here.