Alaska reported 563 new COVID-19 cases Monday as hospitalizations reached yet another new high and one tribal health organization recommended a regional lockdown.
Cases reported over the weekend — 745 Saturday and 654 Sunday — marked the highest and second-highest daily numbers in the state since the pandemic began in March. The state has reported weeks of climbing case numbers and rising death tolls across Alaska.
Since March, 98 Alaskans with COVID-19 have died and one nonresident has died. Alaska’s overall death rate per capita remains among the lowest in the country.
Hospitalizations reached a new high Monday as the state reported 121 patients with COVID-19. Another 22 people who were hospitalized were suspected to have COVID-19. Health officials have stressed for weeks that the rising case numbers could overwhelm Alaska’s hospitals struggling with staffing capacity.
Separately, officials at Bethel-based tribal health organization Yukon-Kuskokwim Health Corp. on Monday issued a statement recommending a monthlong regional lockdown due to “exponential” transmission of the virus in the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta.
Of the 556 cases reported in Alaska residents, 351 were in Anchorage, five in Chugiak, 35 in Eagle River and one in Girdwood; eight were in Homer, six in Kenai, two in Seward, 12 in Soldotna and one in Sterling; one was in Kodiak; 15 were in Fairbanks and three in North Pole; eight were in Delta Junction; six were in Palmer, one in Sutton-Alpine, and 21 in Wasilla; three were in Nome; two were in Kotzebue; one was in Douglas and eight were in Juneau; one was in Sitka; 39 were in Bethel; one was in Chevak and one in Hooper Bay.
Among communities smaller than 1,000 people that are not named to protect privacy, there were two cases in the northern Kenai Peninsula Borough and four in the southern portion of the borough; one was in Kodiak Island Borough; two were in the Valdez-Cordova Census Area; one was in the Yukon-Koyukuk Census Area; one was in Northwest Arctic Borough; 11 were in the Bethel Census Area; and two were in the Kusilvak Census Area.
Another seven cases were reported in nonresidents Sunday, including two in Anchorage, one in Homer, and four in unknown regions, the state reported.
Of the new cases, it is not reported how many patients were showing symptoms of the virus when they tested positive. While people might get tested more than once, each case reported by the state health department only represents one person.
The state’s testing positivity as of Monday was 8.31% over a seven-day rolling average. A positivity rate over 5% can indicate high community transmission and not enough testing, health officials have said.