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

The death of an Anchorage man in his 50s has been linked to COVID-19. Reported by state health officials Saturday, this death marks the second COVID-19 related death in two days, with the first reported Friday, also of an Anchorage man. 

These deaths, along with four others, make six COVID-19 related fatalities reported in Alaskan residents in the last week and a half — more than the number deaths reported in May and June combined.

A total of 310 new cases of the disease have been reported by the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services over the last two days with 151 cases reported Saturday and 159 cases reported Sunday. 

Eight Fairbanks residents were included in the two-day total with five reported Saturday and three reported Sunday. This brings the Fairbanks North Star Borough total to 406, about 69% of which are deemed active. 

Other cases reported Saturday included 109 residents from Anchorage, nine from Wasilla, eight from Palmer, six from Homer and one each from Bethel, Cordova, Eagle River, Kenai, Ketchikan, the Matanuska-Susitna Borough, Sitka, Soldotna, Sutton-Alpine and Willow. 

Also Saturday, four new nonresident cases were reported in one unknown individual in Anchorage, one seafood industry worker in the Kodiak Island Borough, and one mining worker and one unknown individual in Juneau.

Sunday’s case report includes 99 Anchorage residents as well as 43 cases spread among residents of the Matanuska-Susitna Borough, the Kenai Peninsula Borough, Northwest Arctic Borough, Valdez-Cordova Census Area, Wrangell City and Borough, Prince of Wales-Hyder Area, Juneau City and Borough, Yukon-Koyukuk Census Area and Bethel Census Area. 

The most significant grouping of cases both days appears in individuals ages 20-39.

As cases continue to rise, Anchorage Mayor Ethan Berkowitz has halted indoor service at bars and restaurants throughout the municipality in an effort to stem the spread of the disease. 

Gov. Mike Dunleavy has told reporters on multiple occasions he does not support the idea of implementing statewide mandates limiting businesses or requiring public mask wearing, instead leaving it up to local governments and individual Alaskans to choose whether or not to follow safety precautions recommended by healthcare officials across the country. 

Fourteen more nonresidents have tested positive for the disease, according to a Sunday report from the state. This includes one individual in the Fairbanks North Star Borough, one in the Anchorage Municipality and three in the Kodiak Island Borough, all whose reasons for being in the state remain unknown. The location of nine other nonresidents who have tested positive remains under investigation at this time. 

Reports over the last two days bring the total number of resident cases to 3,280, almost 71% of which are deemed active at this time. 

Cases considered “recovered” by the state are those who no longer require isolation. 

The state has confirmed 704 cases of COVID-19 in nonresidents in Alaska.

No new deaths were reported Sunday. One new hospitalization brought the state total to 134. There are currently 27 COVID-positive patients hospitalized statewide as well as 12 other patients who are under investigation for the disease and await test results. 

Currently only one COVID-positive patient is hospitalized in the Interior. Hospitalizations are grouped by economic region rather than borough, municipality or community. 

A total of 243,090 tests have been conducted. The average percentage of daily positive tests for the previous three days is 2.48%.

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

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