Novel coronavirus

This scanning electron microscope image shows SARS-CoV-2 (yellow)—also known as 2019-nCoV, the virus that causes COVID-19—isolated from a patient in the U.S., emerging from the surface of cells (blue/pink) cultured in the lab.


Updated 6 p.m.: The Alaska Department of Health and Social Services reported 27 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 Sunday, marking the highest single-day case count since the virus hit Alaska in mid-March. 

The largest previous single-day case report was 22 new cases reported April 7. 

The 27 new cases reported Sunday afternoon bring the state total to 460 confirmed cases of the disease caused by the novel coronavirus. 

Of the new cases, 12 are confirmed in residents of Anchorage, four in residents of Wasilla, three in residents of Kenai, three in residents of Eagle River, two in residents of Homer, one in a resident of Soldotna, one in a resident of Anchor Point, and one in a resident elsewhere in the Kenai Peninsula Borough. 

Ten of the Anchorage cases were identified as stemming from one long-term care facility in the area, according to Anchorage health officials. 

One new nonresident case was confirmed in a seafood industry work in the Dillingham Census Area. Additionally, the case reported May 29 in a Homer resident has been determined to be a visitor, not a resident of the state. The case has been subtracted from the total state case count and instead added to the nonresident case total, which now sits at 21, more than half of which are out-of-state seafood industry workers.

The group of newly confirmed cases comes just over one week after Gov. Mike Dunleavy announced the full reopening of Alaska's businesses in an effort to revive the economy.

Approximately three weeks ago, the governor issued guidelines as part of the second phase of his plan to reopen the state that allowed for bars, theaters, bowling alleys and gyms to open to 25% capacity. These businesses had previously been ordered to close entirely to stem the spread of disease.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization both recognize the average incubation period for COVID-19 to be about two weeks.

Gov. Mike Dunleavy told reporters Sunday evening he felt the high case count was "manageable" and didn't "see this as any reason to get overly concerned."

The administration will move forward as planned with reopening the state from previous virus related closures.

"We've always said the numbers are going to go up," Dunleavy said. "We see no reason to change what we're doing."

The governor urged Alaskans to avoid large gatherings if they can but confirmed he would not reimplement a mandate limiting such gatherings as was previously in place. 

"We have a comprehensive approach to health and life that needs to continue," Dunleavy said, defending that he is not putting the economy ahead of health. 

None of the new cases were found in residents of the Fairbanks North Star Borough. According to state data, the last time a case was confirmed in the Fairbanks borough was May 9. 

Of the cumulative total 460 cases, 368 have reportedly recovered, according to state health department data. 

No new hospitalizations or deaths were reported Sunday. The total number of state residents whose deaths have been attributed to COVID-19 remains at 10. 

Currently, 10 Alaska residents are hospitalized either with confirmed cases of COVID-19 or who are under investigation and await test results. 

A total of 53,063 tests have been conducted. 

Contact staff writer Erin McGroarty at 459-7544. Follow her on Twitter: @FDNMpolitics.