KETCHIKAN (KDN) — A record-high 130 COVID-19 cases were active in Ketchikan on Thursday, and local Public Health officials tallied 16 new cases as of 5 p.m. that evening.

The Ketchikan area's previous standing record of active cases was 129, reported on the local COVID-19 dashboard on Sept. 3.

A total of 36 cases remained under investigation as to source as of early Thursday evening, according to the virus data dashboard maintained by public health officials. Between 5 p.m. Wednesday and 5 p.m. Thursday, Ketchikan Public Health linked 15 cases to close contact, five to community spread, and categorized one case as lost to contact.

Two people were hospitalized in the COVID-19 unit at PeaceHealth Ketchikan Medical Center.

In the past seven days, 109 COVID-19 cases had been counted in Ketchikan, according to the dashboard.

Of those cases, 50 have involved unvaccinated individuals and 15 have involved those not eligible for vaccination. Thirty-two of the cases tallied in the past week have involved fully vaccinated people, and 12 cases involved people with unknown vaccination statuses, according to Public Health information.

In the past week, 52 of the local cases involved symptomatic individuals and 41 have been in asymptomatic people. The symptoms of 16 people were unknown by Thursday evening, the dashboard showed.

To date, Ketchikan has recorded 1,219 virus cases.

Ketchikan's seven-day average tally of new cases per 100,000 people was 796.6, according to the dashboard. The Alaska Department of Health and Social Services sets the baseline for categorizing a region as at the "high risk level" as having a seven-day average daily case rate of at least 100.

According to DHSS on Wednesday, Ketchikan had the highest average daily case rate of any Southeast community. The Prince of Wales-Hyder Census Area (which includes all communities on POW, as well as Metlakatla, Port Alexander, Hyder and Kake) had the second-highest rate of 492.6.

The average daily case rates of other Southeast communities on Wednesday, according to DHSS, included the City and Borough of Juneau (440.6), the Haines Borough (396.0), the Wrangell City and Borough (294.2), Petersburg Borough (250.9), Yakutat plus Hoonah-Angoon (188.8), Skagway Municipality (174.4) and the City and Borough of Sitka (174.4).

Prince of Wales Island update

Health officials on Prince of Wales Island recorded 16 COVID-19 cases between Wednesday and Thursday, according to messages recorded on the Craig Public Health COVID-19 hotline.  

Five new COVID-19 cases were charted on Wednesday, according to a message recorded that evening on the hotline.

"Of the five new cases, one is a resident of Craig," the Wednesday message stated. "The source of infection is secondary spread."

One case also was classified as recovered on Wednesday, leaving 22 of the island's cumulative 332 cases active as of Wednesday, according to the hotline.

The other four cases counted Wednesday involved residents of POW communities with fewer than 1,000 residents. Of those cases, two were related to secondary spread and two were deemed travel-related.

Of the 11 cases counted on Thursday, six involved Craig residents, according to a Thursday recording on the hotline. Two of those cases were connected to community spread, and four were deemed secondary spread cases.

The other five Thursday cases involved residents of a community with fewer than 1,000 residents, according to the hotline. Of those cases, two were linked to commnity spread, two were secondary spread and one was still under investigation, per the message.

Two additional cases also were classified as recovered on Thursday

As of Thursday evening, 31 of POW's 343 total cases remained active, according to Craig Public Health.

Metlakatla update

The Annette Island Service Unit on Wednesday reported that all nine COVID-19 tests conducted in Metlakatla that day returned negative results, according to a Wednesday announcement from the Metlakatla Indian Community.

With one active case — involving a resident not currently in Metlakatla — Metlakatla remained at Community Alert Level 1, at which one case had been counted in the past seven days.

At that level, gatherings are limited to less than 30 people, according to the MIC information.

"Continue to wear a mask inside and when around others outside of your household, social distance and wash your hands," the MIC notice read.

Statewide case information

More than 200 individuals were hospitalized with confirmed cases of COVID-19 throughout the state on Wednesday, and the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services tallied 846 new cases, according to a DHSS case statement published Thursday.

DHSS on Thursday reported that 206 individuals were hospitalized with confirmed COVID-19 cases — yet another record set in the past week when it comes to virus hospitalizations, which continue to strain facilities around the state. An additional 11 people were hospitalized with suspected virus cases, bringing the total number of COVID-19 related hospitalizations to 217 as of midnight Wednesday.

Adult intensive care units at nearly all hospital-level facilities in larger Alaska communities were in "closed" status or nearing capacity of as of late Wednesday afternoon, a DHSS-maintained hospital dashboard showed. PeaceHealth Ketchikan Medical Center and the Joint Base Elmendorf Richardson Hospital were the sole two facilities with "open" ICUs and inpatient units. The Mat-Su Regional Medical Center's inpatient unit was open.

Adult ICUs were in the "closed" status at the Alaska Native Medical Center, Alaska Regional Hospital, Mat-Su Regional Medical Center and the Central Peninsula Hospital. Bartlett Regional Hospital and Providence Alaska Medical Center's ICUs were "near capacity," according to the dashboard.

Non-ICU inpatient units were near capacity at ANMC, Alaska Regional Hospital, Providence Alaska Medical Center and Bartlett Regional Hospital. Inpatient units at Central Peninsula Hospital and Fairbanks Memorial Hospital (as well as the Fairbanks' facility psychiatric unit) were "closed," the dashboard showed.

Of the 846 COVID-19 cases counted on Wednesday (the second consecutive day that DHSS recorded more than 800 cases), 809 were resident cases and 37 involved nonresidents in Alaska.

Areas with more than 10 resident cases recorded by DHSS on Wednesday were Anchorage (258), Wasilla (89), Fairbanks (59), Palmer (46), the Bethel Census Area (42), Utqiagvik (28), Eagle River (26), Juneau (23), Kodiak and Ketchikan (22), Kenai (21), North Pole (17), Chugiak and Soldotna (14 apiece), Bethel (11) and the Fairbanks North Star Borough (10).

Other Southeast  communities with new resident cases included Sitka (two) and Craig (one), according to DHSS.

Nonresident cases were recorded throughout Ketchikan (eight); Anchorage (six); Juneau (five); Yakutat plus Hoonah-Angoon (four); the North Slope Borough and Delta Junction (two); and Eagle River, Fairbanks, Healy, Sitka, Soldotna and Wasilla (one each).

— Compiled by Daily News Staff Writer Raegan Miller