KETCHIKAN (KDN) — Ketchikan Public Health officials logged 42 new COVID-19 cases between Tuesday and Wednesday evenings, bumping Ketchikan's total number of active virus infections to more than 100 as of Wednesday.

The community information dashboard managed by KPH showed that 114 cases were considered active as of its latest update at 4:13 p.m. Wednesday.

The dashboard also showed that four individuals were hospitalized locally due to the virus.

A separate PeaceHealth Ketchikan Medical Center dashboard, which reports the previous day's hospitalizations by 11 a.m. the following day, showed three people were hospitalized when it updated at 11 a.m. Wednesday.

According to the local dashboard, health officials have tallied 142 cases in Ketchikan in the past seven days, and 212 cases in the past two weeks.

The full Ketchikan Public Health dashboard can be found at

At-home test kit distribution

Ketchikan's supply of at-home COVID-19 test kits is running low, and kits are becoming harder to obtain around the state and nation.

Coleman Cutchins, a clinical pharmacist with the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services, spoke about the availability of test kits during a Wednesday afternoon virtual question and answer session.

"The over the counter at home rapid kits are extremely scarce," Cutchins said. "Everyone in the country is currently trying to buy those, and the supply chain is limited."

Cutchins said that based on discussions he has participated in recently, he expects availability for testing kits to begin to open up more in two to four weeks.

At-home antigen test kits began being distributed from local fire departments in mid-December. The kits were obtained through a state grant.

 Ketchikan Public Health Center and the Ketchikan Public Library also became distribution points for the kits.

North Tongass Volunteer Fire Department Chief Jerry Kiffer told the Daily News on Wednesday that NTVFD's supply of tests ran out on Thursday.

Scott Brainard, acting chief at Ketchikan Fire Department, said that the department's stock of tests began running low on Tuesday and the last kit was handed out on Wednesday.

KPH Nurse Manager Jen Bergen wrote to the Daily News on Wednesday that the Ketchikan Public Health Center also does not have any more test kits to distribute.

An order for 300 more kits has been placed but does not have a delivery date, according to Bergen.

Metlakatla update

The Annette Island Service Unit reported four new COVID-19 cases on Wednesday, and Metlakatla's number of active cases dropped to 39, according to an evening announcement from the Metlakatla Indian Community.

Metlakatla remained at Community Alert Level 3: High, at which gatherings are limited to 20 attendees and masks are required in public areas. At Level 3, the community's clinic also will only admit "urgent/emergent" patients, according to MIC.

Since the start of the pandemic, 238 cases have been counted in Metlakatla.

Statewide case information

The Alaska Department of Health and Social Services recorded a dramatic spike in COVID-19 cases between Monday and Tuesday, marking two straight days of record-setting case counts, and also reported five resident virus-related deaths and the state's highest average daily case rate so far during the pandemic.

All five deaths involved residents of Anchorage, including one man in his 50s, two men in their 60s, a man in his 70s and a woman in her 70s, according to a case summary released by DHSS on Wednesday afternoon.

Further information regarding the deaths was not included in DHSS' case summary.

Since the start of the pandemic, 953 Alaskans have died of COVID-19. That includes 401 Anchorage residents, online DHSS data showed.

Between Monday and Tuesday, the department recorded 4,519 new infections, with 4,381 being resident cases and 138 being nonresident cases, according to DHSS.

The resident case counts for both days were all-time highs —1,967 on Monday, and another record 2,414 on Tuesday, according to online DHSS information.

Areas with 10 or more new COVID-19 cases identified between Monday and Tuesday were Anchorage (2,100); Fairbanks (425); Eagle River (230); the Greater Wasilla Area (212); Juneau (172); Kodiak (103); the Greater Palmer Area (98); Ketchikan (96); North Pole (85); the Kusilvak Census Area (57); Chugiak (56); the Bethel Census Area (53); Homer (44); Yakutat plus Hoonah-Angoon (43); the Fairbanks North Star Borough (40); the Nome Census Area (39); Bethel (34); Kotzebue (33); Kenai (30); Soldotna (29); Utqiagvik and Nome (27 each); Wrangell, Metlakatla and Unalaska (26 apiece); Cordova (25); Petersburg and Girdwood (18 each); Seward (16); Sitka (14); Delta Junction (13); the Northwest Arctic Borough, and the combined Bristol Bay and Lake and Peninsula Borough (12 each); Kenai Peninsula Borough North (11); and the North Slope Borough and the Copper River Census Area (10 apiece).

Other Southeast communities to chart new cases included the Prince of Wales-Hyder Census Area (six), Craig (four), and Skagway (three), according to the DHSS summary.

Nonresident cases were detected in Anchorage (50); Fairbanks (23); the Aleutians East Borough (21); Prudhoe Bay (seven); Juneau (four); Homer, Palmer and Sitka (three each); Wasilla (two); Ketchikan, Nome, Dillingham, the Bethel Census Area and the combined Bristol Bay and Lake and Peninsula Borough (one each).

Seventeen nonresident cases were still being investigated for location, according to DHSS.

Alaska's average daily case rate — defined as the state's overall average of newly identified cases per 100,000 population — was a record-high 1,522.3, according to DHSS, eclipsing the previous all-time high rate of 1,218.4, recorded on Sept. 26.

The state has not been below the high risk level (defined as when the overall average daily case rate is higher than 100) since mid-July.

Hospital status update

Eighty-seven individuals were hospitalized around the state due to COVID-19 — 81 with confirmed infections and six who were being investigated for virus positivity, according to the DHSS statement.

COVID-19 made up 6.6% of all hospitalizations in Alaska as of midnight Tuesday.

Since the start of the pandemic, 3,311 Alaskans have been hospitalized due to the virus.

ICUs were near capacity at a handful of the state's largest health care facilities, including Alaska Regional Hospital, Providence Alaska Medical Center and Mat-Su Regional Medical Center, according to a DHSS-managed hospital information hub.

ICUs were listed as open at Alaska Native Medical Center, Bartlett Regional Hospital and Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson Hospital.

The ICU at Central Peninsula Hospital was shown to be closed, according to the dashboard.

— Compiled by Daily News Staff Writer Raegan Miller