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 5:24 p.m.: The Fairbanks North Star Borough has seen its highest daily COVID-19 case count yet, reporting 16 new resident cases Friday. The previous highest daily case count for the borough was eight, reported Thursday.

The 16 new Fairbanks borough cases –– 14 from Fairbanks and two from North Pole –– are part of a larger state report of 55 new cases of the disease reported in 51 state residents and four nonresidents by state health officials.

The other 35 resident cases include 21 from Anchorage, three from Kenai, two each from Homer and Wasilla and one each from Eagle River, Juneau, Home, elsewhere in the Nome Census Area, Palmer, Seward and Willow.

The new cases bring the total number of state residents to have tested positive for the disease to 1,323. About 54% of these cases are considered active.

Two of the four nonresident cases are seafood industry workers in the combined Bristol Bay and Lake and Peninsula Boroughs. The combined boroughs reported one other nonresident case from an unknown industry. The fourth nonresident case was a tourism worker based in the Matanuska-Susitna Borough.

Approximately 58% of Alaska's nonresident cases are seafood industry workers who have traveled from Outside to work the summer months in the state's commercial fishing industry.

This brings the total number of nonresident cases to 258. It remains unreported how many of these cases are active.

No new hospitalizations or deaths were reported Friday. Currently there are 18 COVID-positive patients hospitalized statewide. An additional 12 patients are under investigation and await test results.

In other firsts for the Fairbanks North Star Borough, the state reported Thursday the first inmate at the Fairbanks Correctional Center had tested positive. The prisoner was already in quarantine when results came back positive.

The borough also reported the first and second confirmed cases among borough government employees. The Juanita Helms Administration Center, which houses much of the borough's day-to-day operations, has been closed for thorough sanitation, borough officials said in a news release Thursday.

Alaska Chief Medical Officer Dr. Anne Zink confirmed to reporters earlier this week that a significant number of the state's new cases are the result of community spread.

Zink also noted that Alaska is ranked fifth in the country for the most tests performed per-capita.

A total of 141,931 tests have been conducted. The average percentage of daily positive tests for the previous three days is 1.46%.

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