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 8:38 p.m.: Fort Greely in Delta Junction has its first confirmed case of COVID-19, according to a news release from the military base Thursday evening.


State of Alaska COVID-19 data dashboard


 
The release states that a civilian on base tested positive and is undergoing evaluation and treatment. Interior Alaska Medical Clinic confirmed the positive result, the news release states. The civilian had recently traveled out of state. The Alaska branch of the Army Medical Department is conducting contact tracing to determine what other individuals may have been exposed.

There are 147 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Alaska as of 12 a.m. Thursday, according to the Department of Health and Social Services, up from the 143 reported the day before.

In rolling out its new COVID-19 data dashboard, the state switched from reporting new cases between 3 p.m. one day and 3 p.m. the next day to reporting from midnight to midnight.

Therefore, there was a nine-hour gap between Wednesday evening's reports and what Thursday's numbers showed, Alaska Chief Medical Officer Dr. Anne Zink said.

The state health department has updated its COVID-19 webpage to keep track of cases by borough rather than community.

As of Thursday morning, 42 total cases were identified in the Fairbanks North Star Borough.

There are four additional hospitalizations, bringing the state total to 13. Zink clarified that this is a cumulative number and does not necessarily mean that all 13 Alaskans are still hospitalized. She later said that nine of the 13 are currently in a hospital.

A total of 5,530 COVID-19 tests have been performed as of Thursday, Gov. Mike Dunleavy told reporters Thursday evening.

Additionally, state health care facilities have a total of 73,000 available surgical masks, 26,000 N-85 masks and 4,700 gowns, Dunleavy said. Zink added that there are 305 ventilators in hospitals. This doesn't include 70 ventilators the state recently received to be distributed to different hospitals throughout the state, Zink explained.

Zink noted that the numbers being reported are likely representative of infection from two weeks ago, noting that Alaska is not spiking as much as predicted.

New data Zink presented Thursday evening included fresh modeling from the state epidemiology team to estimate how seriously COVID-19 may impact Alaska depending on how state government and residents approach the outbreak.

"We initially saw us coming out of the gate pretty fast. but we're starting to see that plateau already now. We're starting to see that curve being able to push now. So we believe that the social distancing and mitigation efforts that have been going on so far are really making a difference," she said. "What Alaskans are doing right now is literally saving lives. We're not far enough into this to let up the gas yet. We really need to hold that curve."

Editors note: The case numbers in this article have been updated to account for initial data reporting discrepancies associated with the state's new COVID-19 dashboard. Officials said numbers are overlapping due to changes in reporting protocol. Data is through 12 a.m. April 2.

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