KETCHIKAN (KDN) — Alaska saw two consecutive record-breaking days of new positive test results for COVID-19 on Friday and Saturday, recording 481 new cases during the two-day period.
One new positive test result was announced by the Ketchikan Emergency Operations Center on Saturday afternoon. The case involves an asymptotic resident who had sought testing from a local health care provider. At the time of the announcement, the cause of the case was under investigation.
As of Saturday, Ketchikan had recorded 78 cases since the pandemic started in March — eight of which had been announced since Oct. 5. Nine cases were listed as active as of 5 p.m. Saturday. The community risk level was at “moderate,” according to the EOC.
Statewide, the 17th and18th-straight days of more than 100 daily cases boosted Alaska’s resident case total to 9,686 as of midnight Saturday. The number of non-resident cases hit an even 1,000.
The volume of new cases is straining the Alaska Department of Health and Social Service’s ability to keep up with data processing.
In a statement released Sunday afternoon, DHSS noted that daily case counts in the near future “seem likely” to remain at recent levels or higher.
“Because of the number of reports being received, it may take a day or two after receipt to get a report entered and counted,” stated a DHSS announcement posted Sunday afternoon. “Extra personnel will continue to focus on the effort to process and count reports and minimize the delay from receipt to posting on the (state’s data) Hub.”
Anchorage continued to record triple-digit case numbers involving residents, with 128 cases on Friday and 110 on Saturday resulting in a two-day total of 238.
Anchorage is one of five areas in Alaska that are on high alert levels with average daily case rates of more than 10 cases per 100,000 population during the previous 14 days. Alaska’s largest city’s average daily case rate is 28.22 cases per 100,000 population during the previous.
The Alaska area with the highest 14-day average daily case rate was the Northwest Region with 33.33 cases, followed by Fairbanks with 32.18 cases.
Fairbanks recorded a total of 53 new positive test results on Friday and Saturday. Other areas recording double-digit increases during that time were Eagle River, (28) Palmer (20), Bethel (15), North Pole (14), and Wasilla and Juneau (13 each)
Among the 27 areas recording fewer than 10 new positive results involving Alaska residents were Kenai and Kotzebue (nine); Northwest Arctic Borough (eight); Chugiak and the Yukon-Koyukuk Census Area (six each); Seward and Soldotna (five apiece); Homer (four); Sterling, Cordova, Bethel Census Area and Utqiaġvik (three each); and Dillingham, Fritz Creek, Healy and the Nome Census Area (two apiece). One new positive result apiece was recorded in the Aleutians East Borough, Bristol Bay/Lake & Peninsula boroughs, Douglas, Girdwood, Houston, Ketchikan, Kusilvak Census Area, Matanuska-Susitna Borough, Willow and the Valdez-Cordova Census Area.
Of the 9,686 resident cases recorded as of midnight Saturday, 4,462 were listed as active cases.
Alaska recorded its 1,000th nonresident case on Saturday — an airline pilot in Anchorage.
Two other nonresident cases were recorded on Friday. One case was in Anchorage, and the other in Soldotna. The purposes of both individual’s visit to Alaska was under investigation as of Friday, according to DHSS.
Of the 1,000 nonresident cases, DHSS listed 375 remaining as active as of midnight Saturday.
No new deaths were recorded on Friday or Saturday, leaving the number of COVID-19 related deaths involving Alaskans at 60.
Fifty-eight people were in Alaska hospitals on Saturday due to circumstances related to COVID-19. Forty-two people were diagnosed with the virus, while 16 were under investigation for COVID-19.
Statewide, the alert status remains high with an average daily case rate of 20.57 during the preceding 14 days, according to DHSS.
In addition to the Northwest Region, Fairbanks and Anchorage, the two other Alaska areas in high alert status are the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta Region with average daily case rate of 21.45, and the “Other Interior Region” at 10.97.
Regions in the “intermediate” alert level with average daily case rates of between five and 10 cases per 100,000 population over 14 days were the Matanuska-Susitna Region (9.19), Kenai Peninsula Borough (7.83), Juneau City and Borough (7.59) and Southwest Region (6.43), according to DHSS.
The “Other Southeast Region-Northern” and ”Other Southeast Region-Southern” were in low alert status with average daily case rates of 3.14 and 2.15, respectively.