KETCHIKAN (KDN) — One new case of COVID-19 was recorded in Ketchikan on Friday.
The case involves a resident traveler who had tested negative upon arrival in Ketchikan, but received a positive result from a 14-day, follow-up test, according to a press release from the local Emergency Operations Center.
The individual was directed to isolate and is being monitored by health care providers.
The local case count stood at 82 as of Friday night, according to the EOC.
Of the total 82 cases counted in Ketchikan since March, 70 have involved residents or individuals who stayed in Ketchikan after testing.
Six cases were active as of Friday evening.
According to a statement from the Ketchikan School District on Thursday, Ketchikan High School is set to reopen as usual on Monday, following the closure of the school due to a positive case involving a student.
Kayhi, district offices and the preschool at Kayhi were closed on Thursday for cleaning after a symptomatic student received a positive test result on Wednesday. Kayhi was not opened for classes on Friday, which already had been scheduled as a parent-teacher conference day.
The student COVID-19 case was classified as an instance of community spread, according to the EOC on Thursday.
All students and staff who were asked by Alaska Public Health to quarantine should not return to school until the quarantine period is complete, according to the KSD statement.
Academic and other events scheduled for this weekend and next week will go forward as planned.
Statewide case information
The Alaska Department of Health and Social Services counted one new COVID-19 death on Friday. The death involved a Fairbanks man in his 80s.
To date, 65 Alaskans have died of COVID-19, according to DHSS.
More than 200 positive rest results were charted by DHSS on Thursday, continuing a trend of what state epidemiologists have described as "sharp acceleration" of cases that is projected to continue into late fall.
Of the 220 cases counted on Thursday and reported on Friday, all but two involved residents.
The resident cases were tallied across 27 areas in the state.
Anchorage led the case count on Thursday with 99 cases, followed by Fairbanks with 17, and Wasilla and Utqiagvik, each with 13 new cases.
North Pole recorded 10 new cases, the Bethel Census Area charted nine and Eagle River and Juneau each counted eight cases. Bethel recorded seven new cases.
Kodiak accounted for five of Thursday's cases, while Kotzebue and Palmer each contributed four new cases.
Several areas counted two new cases apiece, including Cordova, Healy, Chugiak, Cordova, the Prince of Wales-Hyder Census Area, the Valdez-Cordova Census Area and the Dillingham Census Area.
One new case per area was counted in Homer, Kenai, Valdez, Skagway, Dillingham, the Southeast Fairbanks Census Area, the Yukon-Koyukuk Census Area, the Yakutat plus Hoonah-Angoon Census Area and the combined Bristol Bay plus Lake and Peninsula boroughs.
As of midnight Thursday, 10,549 resident COVID-19 cases had been counted in Alaska, with 4,878 of these cases being considered active at that time, according to DHSS.
One of the two nonresident cases was tallied in Utqiagvik and involved a worker in an "other" industry.
The second nonresident case was still under investigation by DHSS on Friday.
Cumulatively, 1,027 nonresident cases have been counted in Alaska, according to DHSS. Of those cases, 395 were active as of midnight Thursday. No nonresidents have died in Alaska.
The state recorded seven additional hospitalizations on Thursday, raising the cumulative number of hospitalizations to 361.
Fifty-nine Alaskans were in state hospitals on Thursday; 51 were hospitalized as patients positive for COVID-19, and eight were hospitalized as persons under investigation for the virus.
Eight of the 59 hospitalized Alaskans were using ventilators on Thursday, according to DHSS.
Statewide risk level
Alaska remained at a high risk level on Thursday, marking over a month since the number of new cases per 100,000 Alaskans over a 14-day period dipped below 10.
On Thursday, the average daily case rate reached a new high of 23.03, an increase from Wednesday's average rate of 22.27 cases.
Six Alaska regions were at high risk levels for COVID-19 on Thursday, according to DHSS.
These areas included the Northwest Arctic region, the Fairbanks North Star Borough, Anchorage municipality, Yukon-Kuskowskim Delta, "other interior" region and the Juneau city and borough.
The Kenai Peninsula Borough was at a high risk level on Wednesday, but moved back to an intermediate risk level when its average daily case rate dropped to 9.55, falling within the perimeter of five to 10 new cases for that level.
In Ketchikan, 18,973 COVID-19 tests have been conducted. As of Friday evening, 250 tests were pending results.
The local positivity rate was 0.48% on Friday.
Statewide, 522,664 tests have been collected, with a statewide positivity rate of 5.16%.
Thursday was the first day since the start of the pandemic in March that the state's positivity rate rose above 5%.
"Positivity rate is calculated by divided the number of positive tests by the total number of tests performed over a given period of time, averaged over the past seven days," according to DHSS information.
Weekly case update
With 1,256 cases recorded in the state during the past week, Alaska set a new record for the most cases recorded in a single week.
This is a 41% increase from the week prior, during which 891 cases were recorded.
The record-high positivity rate for the state is an indicator of insufficient testing, according to DHSS.
"While many states have a higher positivity rate than Alaska does, this rise is concerning because the positivity rate is our best measure of whether our testing capacity can keep up with current cases," the DHSS statement read. "A rise in positivity rate reflects that testing is not increasing as fast as the current increase in cases. Since Alaska's per-capita testing capacity is more robust than almost any other state, the finding that the positivity rate is nearing the national average is concerning."
The regions to see the sharpest increases last week were the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta region, the Anchorage municipality and the Fairbanks North Star Borough.
Alaska's daily average case rate per 100,000 population over the past seven days is the 13th highest in the country, ranking below Wyoming (27.3) but above Missouri (24.4).
"If Anchorage were its own state, it's seven-day case rate (34) would put it at rank six, between Utah and Idaho, and if Fairbanks were a state, its seven-day rate of 40.7 would make it fifth in the nation, just behind Wisconsin," the DHSS update stated.
The report also indicated that if the Northwest Arctic Borough were its own state, its average case rate of 75 would rank it first in the nation.
Alaska still has the lowest number of deaths per capita of any state, but has recorded more deaths than either Vermont and Wyoming, according to DHSS.
State epidemiologists continue to predict acceleration in cases next week.
Cases are expected to double every 20 days with a projected growth rate of 3.5%.
According to DHSS, the majority of new cases do not have a clear source.
"Many Alaskans who are diagnosed with COVID-19 report that they went to social gatherings, community events, church services and other social venues while they were contagious but before they knew they have the virus," according to the report.
Most new cases are being identified in Alaskans between the ages of 10 and 19, 20 and 29, and 30 to 39.