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 4:36 p.m.: A fourth resident of the Fairbanks North Star Borough has died in connection with the COVID-19 virus, the state reported Saturday.

The state Department of Health and Social Services reports that the patient who died was a male Fairbanks resident in his 70s who had preexisting conditions.

State data lists three of the borough’s COVID fatalities as of Fairbanks residents and one as of a North Pole resident. The COVID-related death of a Fairbanks woman in her 80s was reported earlier in the week. She was the borough’s third fatality.

Twenty Alaskans have died from the disease or complications associated with it. That total includes some who died out of state.

Also Saturday, the state reported 115 new cases of COVID-19 — 88 among residents and 27 among nonresidents.

Seven of the new resident cases are of Fairbanks borough residents — five from Fairbanks, one from Ester and from North Pole.

Dr. Anne Zink, Alaska’s chief medical officer, on Friday tweeted about the urgency in tracking down people who have come into contact with someone who has tested positive for the virus.

“With cases rising DHSS is asking that if you test positive you call your close contacts as soon as you are able to do so,” she wrote. “The quicker someone knows to isolate or quarantine, the better chances we have as a community to keep the spread of this virus in check.”

“Every day that a case or close contacts may still be out in the community, potentially exposing others, puts everyone at risk. If you know you’ve had exposure, self-quarantine and monitor for symptoms as soon as you know you’ve had close contact with an infected individual,” she added in a follow-up tweet.

Anchorage had more than half of the resident cases announced Saturday, at 48. Other cases were spread around the state, including in Wasilla, Palmer, the Northwest Arctic Borough, Soldotna, the Yukon-Koyukuk Census Area, Cordova, Seward, Eagle River, Haines, Juneau, Kenai, Kotzebue, Sterling, Unalaska and the Valdez-Cordova Census Area.

Of the 27 new nonresident cases, 22 were in the seafood industry out of Seward. On other case was out Kenai, but no other information was provided. Four additional cases were from unspecified regions.

The total number of resident cases has risen to 2,338, with 65% of those considered active. The total of nonresident cases has risen to 530.

The state reports Alaska resident cases by place of residence. These include Alaska residents diagnosed and isolated out of state. The state records nonresident cases by place of diagnosis.

The data reported Saturday is from the 24-hour period that ended at 11:59 p.m. Friday.

Contact Editor Rod Boyce at 459-7585. Follow him on Twitter: @FDNMeditor