Update: Statewide COVID-19 infections reach 53,487

Updated 6:45 p.m. Jan. 26

Infections of the novel coronavirus in Alaska have reached 53,487, with a total of 89 new novel coronavirus infections documented on Tuesday, Jan. 26 by state health officials, the second day in a row with under 100 new infections reported.

One new COVID-19 death reported was the passing of a Northwest Arctic Borough man in his 60s. The statewide death toll from the virus now stands at 258 residents and two nonresidents.

The latest infection count update from the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services included one resident of Cordova and none in the Valdez-Cordova Census Area.

Officials with the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services said that Alaska now has more residents who have been vaccinated with their first dose of COVID-19 vaccine than residents who have tested positive for the virus.

Alaska is also currently ranked first among states for the percentage of people per capita who have been given at least one shot, according to the Bloomberg vaccine tracer, which pulls data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s database and state dashboards.

To date, 51,778 residents and 1,709 nonresidents have been infected with COVID-19.

There has been a total of 1,194 hospitalizations. According to the DHSS dashboard 56 people currently hospitalized are confirmed to be COVID positive, plus one additional patient whose conditions is under investigation. Five of these patients were on ventilators. These numbers are updated, with corrections, daily at covid19.alaska.gov.

New resident cases of the virus on the DHSS data dashboard as of Jan. 25 included:

  • Anchorage, 20
  • Wasilla, 12
  • Bethel Census Area, 11
  • Fairbanks, 7
  • Juneau, Kusilvak Census Area, 5
  • Bethel, Palmer, 4
  • Eagle River 3
  • Sutton-Alpine, Unalaska, 2
  • Big Lake, Chugiak, Cordova, Haines, Homer, Kotzebue, Nome Census Area, North Pole, Prince of Wales-Hyder Census Area, Seward and Soldotna, 1.

Three new nonresident cases, all in the seafood industry at Unalaska, were also identified.

One resident case was deleted from the DHSS dashboard dur to data verification.

The current alert level, based on the average daily case rate over 14 days per 100,000, is high at 27.22 cases per 100,000. Most regions of Alaska are in high alert status with widespread community transmission.

DHSS officials also confirmed that 135 of some 700 seafood processing workers at Trident Seafood’s Akutan facility have tested positive for the virus. So far only about half of the Trident employees have been tested. The state is working with Trident, as well as Westward Seafoods, owner of Alyeska Seafoods, Inc. and an Unalaska plant operated by UniSea, all of which have had outbreaks of the virus.

Trident saiad in a statement issued on Jan. 26 that progress is being made in eliminating COVID-19 from its Akutan plant.

Joe Bundrant, chief executive officer of Trident, said they are continuing to assess the health of each employee at Akutan and to care for the sick. “We will take every step possible to ensure our people and plant are safe before restarting production,” he said. The company’s facility-wide testing strategy was initially slowed by weather delays, but testing supplies and additional medical professionals are now on site, he said.

Coast Guard assisted evacuations were arranged by Trident on Jan. 25 for two employees whose condition had worsened.

Trident Seafoods confirmed on Thursday, Jan. 21, that the seafood processing company would halt operations for three weeks at Akutan, after several employees tested positive for the coronavirus.  Meanwhile all workers are being paid wile quarantining, said Stefanie Moreland, vice president of government relations for Trident.  “We’re providing safe activities, wellness support WIFI data cards for downloading books, magazines and other entertainment, and are providing a safe checkout and return process for on-site games and movies, ” she said.

DHSS continues to encourage residents to keep checking on the availability of COVID-19 vaccines in their area. Many residents have found that the sign-up websites were not working properly or that the number of people attempting to register for appointments exceeds the available supply for January. DHSS is providing updated information as it becomes available on registering for COVID vaccine appointments.

A total of 1,460,189 tests for COVID-19 have been conducted in Alaska to date, including 28,376 tests in the previous seven days. The average percentage of daily positive tests for the previous seven days is 3.07 percent.

To date 82,468 shots of the first dose and 19,117 shots of the second dose of COVID vaccine have been given in Alaska for a total of 101,585, according to DHSS. 

DHSS notes that even after being vaccinated people should practice COVID-19 protective measures, including masking, social distancing and hand washing.

Statewide updates are provided daily by state health officials Alaska’s COVID-19 dashboard at covid19.alaska.gov.

The DHSS daily report reflects data from midnight to 11:59 p.m., which is posted at noon daily on the Alaska Coronavirus Response Hub.

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.