KETCHIKAN (KDN) — Setting a local record for the most cases recorded in a day, Ketchikan counted five new positive test results for COVID-19 on Wednesday, according to a press release from the Ketchikan Emergency Operations Center.
Eight cases have been counted in Ketchikan this week. All of this week's cases have been connected to a single outbreak and were not classified as community spread.
One of the week's eight cases is connected to travel, while the remaining seven were identified as close contacts of an individual known to be positive.
According to the EOC statement, five of eight individuals who tested positive this week were symptomatic on Wednesday afternoon.
The primary symptoms of these individuals were headaches and bodyaches.
All of the cases are "associated with a single location/outbreak," stated the EOC release. The cases are not classified as instances of community spread.
Since March, Ketchikan has counted 77 COVID-19 cases. Eight of those cases were active as of Wednesday evening, per EOC information.
Additionally, Ketchikan's risk level shifted from low to moderate on Wednesday.
"Although we continue to have an overall low burden of cases and our health care system has the full capacity to safely care for the cases, the positive test rate has risen to approximately 1.3%, indicating a greater prevalence of the virus in our community and causing the EOC to raise our community risk level to level two: moderate," the EOC release stated.
According to the release, the EOC "strongly" recommends masks and "six feet social distancing in communal settings and public locations with 20 or more people."
Also strongly recommended is "reduced capacity to ensure physical distancing, including staggered schedules or teleworking," according to the EOC.
At this level, the EOC recommended that bars, restaurants, gyms, personal services use such health measures as, "reduced capacity to ensure physical distancing; recommend reservations; encourage delivery or curbside pickup; personal services by appointment; no waiting areas; limit inside capacity to 50%."
No changes will be made to the operations of the Ketchikan Gateway Borough School District.
The Gateway Recreation Center will limit class sizes and occupancy in the cardio and weightlifting rooms, the release stated.
Ketchikan Gateway Borough Transit Department buses now require passengers to wear face coverings prior to boarding the bus.
The face coverings must be worn for the duration of the passenger's trip and until the passenger exits the bus. Fare will still be collected.
The EOC update stated that passengers who do not have a face covering should allow those who already have masks to board the bus first. Masks are available on the bus.
Statewide case information
All of the 116 new cases of COVID-19 recorded in Alaska on Tuesday were linked to state residents, according to DHSS.
New positive test results were tallied in Anchorage (56); Fairbanks (28); the Nome Census Area (12); North Pole (five); Seward (three); Kotzebue, Chugiak and Juneau (two apiece); and Eagle River, Healy, Big Lake, Bethel, the Northwest Arctic Borough and the Yukon-Koyukuk Census Area (one each).
As of midnight Tuesday, a total of 8,878 resident COVID-19 cases had been counted in Alaska.
While DHSS did not report new nonresident cases on Tuesday, the nonresident case total increased from 980 to 983 on that day.
DHSS' daily case summary stated that the increase was due to cases that had been counted from other dates, and were added to the case total, but not assigned to Tuesday.
As of midnight Tuesday, 360 of the 983 nonresident cases were classified as active.
An Anchorage man died of COVID-19 on Tuesday, bringing Alaska's virus death toll to 59.
The man was in his 70s, according to data from DHSS.
It was not indicated if the individual had underlying health conditions.
Anchorage has recorded 35 of Alaska's 59 COVID-19 deaths, according to DHSS information.
Fairbanks has counted nine deaths.
Two deaths per area have been counted in Anchor Point, North Pole, the Yukon-Koyukuk Census Area, Wasilla and Juneau.
Soldotna, Petersburg and the Bethel Census Area each have recorded one death, according to DHSS.
Alaska still has the second-lowest total of COVID-19 deaths in the country, behind Wyoming's 53 deaths.
Statewide risk level
Alaska's daily average case rate over 14 days per 100,000 residents — a figure that dictates that state's risk level — continues to rise.
On Tuesday, the state's daily average case rate per 100,000 Alaskans was an all-time high of 17.62 new cases, according to DHSS.
Alaska remains at a high risk level.
When the state records between five and 10 new cases of COVID-19 over 14 days per 100,000 residents, the risk level will reduce to intermediate.
The daily average case rate over a seven-day period also peaked on Tuesday, at a new high of 19.33 new cases per 100,000 Alaskans.
The five new hospitalizations recorded on Tuesday raised the cumulative number of virus-related hospitalizations in Alaska to 316, according to DHSS.
Forty-six Alaskans were hospitalized in the state on Tuesday; 33 people were hospitalized as COVID-19 patients and 12 were persons under investigation.
Six individuals were utilizing ventilators in Alaska on Tuesday, leaving 311 of the state's 347 ventilators available.
Alaska's inpatient and intensive care beds continued to be about half full, according to online DHSS data.
Of the 1,500 inpatient beds throughout the state's hospitals, 933 were occupied, leaving 541 beds open.
Of a total 227 ICU beds, 132 were full on Tuesday, leaving 95 available beds.
However, Gov. Mike Dunleavy and officials from the Alaska State Hospital and Nursing Home Association on Tuesday said that hospital capacity is not an area of concern for the state.
Across the state, 490,074 COVID-19 tests have been conducted, with an all-time high positivity rate of 4.28%.
In Ketchikan, 17,736 tests have been collected, with results pending from 132 tests, according to the EOC. The local positivity rate was 1.32% on Wednesday.