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.

Credit: NIAID-RML

Updated 5:03 p.m.: The state tally of COVID-19 cases climbed by 49 Wednesday with the announcement that 40 state residents and nine nonresidents testing positive for the disease.

Five of the new cases are residents of the Fairbanks North Star Borough, three in North Pole and two in Fairbanks.

The other 35 state residents to have tested positive include 17 from Anchorage, six from Kenai, three from Palmer, three from Soldotna and one each from Chugiak, Cordova, Eagle River, the Northwest Arctic Borough, Kusilvak Census Area and Unalaska, the latter of which is the first resident case in the area.

Nine more nonresidents have tested positive the state, including the two in the Fairbanks North Star Borough, one of whom is a visitor.

Four of the other seven nonresident cases are seafood industry workers from Kenai Peninsula Borough, Ketchikan Gateway Borough and the combined region of the Bristol Bay and Lake and Peninsula boroughs.

Three others have tested positive in Anchorage and Juneau, one a visitor and the other two unknown.

The state health department provided more information on the Alaska death reported Tuesday. The deceased was an elderly woman in her 70s from the Matanuska-Susitna Borough. A heath department spokesman wrote in an email that the woman died "recently" in Alaska and suffered from other health complications.

No other information was provided on the death, which marks the 17th of a state resident linked to COVID-19. At least four of those are individuals who died outside the state.

No new deaths were reported Wednesday. One more Alaskan has become sick enough to be admitted to a hospital, bringing the cumulative number of hospitalizations to 78.

A total of 30 individuals are hospitalized across the state either with a confirmed case of the disease or who are under investigation and await test results.

More than half of the state's total 1,226 resident cases remain active.

Alaska has seen a steady increase in cases since late-May when businesses began reopening, bars and gyms were able to fully open and Alaskans were allowed to gather and travel around the state.

Since then the percentage of active cases has jumped from 10% on May 22 to more than 52% Wednesday.

Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy told reporters Tuesday afternoon the state anticipated an increase in cases and that the spike is not dramatic enough to implement mandates or guidelines on masking or social gatherings.

A total of 133,401 tests have been conducted. The average percentage of daily positive tests for the previous three days is 1.06%.

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