KETCHIKAN (KDN) — The Ketchikan Emergency Operations Center recorded three new cases of COVID-19 on Monday, and the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services announced that it had tallied one new virus death and more than 340 cases from Friday through Sunday.
Two of the local cases involved symptomatic individuals who were found to be close contacts of a known positive case, according to a Monday evening press release from the EOC.
The third case involved an asymptomatic individual who was tested as a part of “an employer testing program,” according to the release. The source of the case was determined to be community spread.
Contact tracing investigations have been completed for all three cases.
Two cases that were pending investigation from Saturday were determined to be close contacts of known positive cases — 212 of Ketchikan’s 381 cumulative COVID-19 cases have been labeled as the result of close contact with a known positive.
As of Monday evening, 15 local cases were active.
No individuals were hospitalized in the COVID-19 unit at PeaceHealth Ketchikan Medical Center on Monday, according to the press release. Details about the status of those individuals who were hospitalized last week and during the weekend are not available from the EOC.
Tests conducted on or before Saturday at the Berth 3 drive-up testing site had been processed by Monday. Anyone who was tested during that time and had not yet received a phone call from public health officials tested negative, according to the EOC.
Ketchikan has been at Community Risk Level 3 (High) for more than two weeks. The local seven-day positivity rate of 2.57% on Monday exceeded the 2% baseline needed for a move back to Level 2 (Moderate).
In a Monday email to the Daily News, EOC Public Information Officer Kacie Paxton explained that the potential for a decrease in the local risk level is partially based on the number of positive cases being counted on a “daily basis” and how much testing is being done.
“The trend of positive cases doses seem to be heading downward,” Paxton wrote. “If we continue with conducting at least 100 tests each day through all of the various clinics, and continue with zero or one case each day, we could see the positivity rate decrease to below 2% and the Risk Level lowered to Level 2 (Moderate) by March 1. However, if we have an increase of multiple cases in upcoming days, or additional community spread cases, the positivity rate would remain over 2% and we would remain in Risk Level 3 (High) for a longer period.”
As of Monday evening, 30 tests were pending results in Ketchikan.
Statewide case information
The Alaska Department of Health and Social Services reported 346 new cases on Friday and during the weekend, bringing the state’s total of COVID-19 cases to more than 57,700 by Monday.
The cases were recorded across 32 areas, with only seven of those areas each accounting for 10 or more new positive test results, according to the department’s case summary released on Monday.
One new death also was recorded during the weekend, involving an Anchorage woman in her 70s. It is the 128th death attributed to Anchorage during the pandemic to date.
As of midnight Sunday, no areas of Alaska were at the low statewide alert status.
“Most regions of Alaska are in high alert status with widespread community transmission,” the DHSS summary read. “Four regions are at (the) intermediate alert status with moderate transmission.”
Southern Southeast Alaska had the fourth-highest average daily case rate in the state on Sunday, keeping it at the highest alert level. The region’s average tally of new cases per 100,000 population over 14 days was 14.69 on Sunday, higher than Anchorage’s average daily case rate of 13.8 and behind the Southwest region’s rate of 17.3.
According to online DHSS data, southern Southeast’s average daily case rate has not been that high since early November, and the region’s average daily case rate peaked at 31.18 on Nov. 13.
But Northern Southeast Alaska was one of four areas — along with Juneau, Northwest Alaska and the Kenai Peninsula Borough — at the intermediate alert status, where a regions’s average daily case rate is between five and 10. Northern Southeast’s rate was 7.68 on Sunday — the highest of those four areas at the intermediate alert level.
Overall, Alaska has not moved from the high alert status since mid-September.
As of midnight Sunday, DHSS reported the following COVID-19 statistics:
• New cases from Friday, Saturday and Sunday combined: 311 resident cases and 35 nonresident cases.
• Areas to record 10 or more new cases: Anchorage (74), Wasilla (65), Fairbanks (32), Palmer (22), Juneau (18), the Bethel Census Area (16) and North Pole (11).
• Southeast areas with new cases recorded by DHSS: Ketchikan (seven), Petersburg (six), SItka (two) and Wrangell and the Yakutat Hoonah-Angoon Census Area (one each).
• Nonresident case locations: Twenty-four of the 35 nonresident cases involved seafood industry workers in Unalaska, while three seafood industry-related cases were counted in the Aleutians East Borough. Three cases (one involving the seafood industry and two under investigation) were recorded in Anchorage. Two cases were tallied in Fairbanks, one was counted in Prudhoe Bay, and two remained under investigation as to location.
• Cumulative state cases: 57,753 (55,507 resident and 2,246 nonresident cases).
• Total hospitalizations: 1,251.
• Current hospitalizations: 39. Of the hospitalizations that were current on Sunday, 35 involved patients who were confirmed to have COVID-19, and four involved those who were still under investigation for the virus. Five of those individuals were using ventilators on Sunday.
• New deaths: 1.
• Total deaths: 287 resident deaths and three nonresident deaths.
• Statewide tests conducted: 1,648,785.
• Statewide risk level: High.
• Statewide average daily case rate: 16.34, down from 16.55 on Saturday.
• Statewide positivity rate across the past seven days: 2.08%.
According to DHSS, 142,785 initial doses and 87,332 second (final) doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been administered in Alaska, equating to about 19.6% of Alaska’s population.
Roughly 12% of Alaskans are fully vaccinated with either a Pfizer or Moderna shot.
The southern Southeast area — which includes Ketchikan and Prince of Wales Island — surpassed 7,000 total doses administered, according to a Monday update to the DHSS vaccine dashboard.
Of the 7,141 doses administered in Southeast since rollout began in mid-December, 2,846 are second doses. The majority of vaccines administered in the region have been the Moderna shot— unlike the rest of Alaska, in which the Pfizer shot has comprised the majority of doses given.
— Compiled by Daily News Staff Writer Raegan Miller