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

Seven more Alaskans have become sick enough with COVID-19 symptoms to be hospitalized statewide, according to a Tuesday report from the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services.

Health officials reported 50 newly confirmed cases of the disease in 45 residents and five nonresidents. 

Holding steady with relatively low daily numbers, only one new Fairbanks resident has tested positive. A total of 441 Fairbanks North Star Borough residents have tested positive for the disease to date. About 68% of these cases have been deemed “active” by state health officials. 

Twenty-two of the new resident cases are individuals from Anchorage. The other new resident cases are spread among Juneau, Sterling, Palmer, Seward, Soldotna, Wasilla, Bethel Census Area, Chugiak, Dillingham, Homer, Kusilvak Census Area, Northwest Arctic Borough, Utqiaġvik and the combined Yakutat Borough and Hoonah-Angoon Census Area.

These new cases bring the total number of Alaskan residents to test positive since the pandemic hit Alaska in mid-March to 3,821, about 69% of which are categorized as “active.”

A total of 31 COVID-19 patients are hospitalized statewide and another nine patients are under investigation and await test results. A total of 161 Alaskans have been hospitalized with COVID-19 to date.

Six of these patients require care in the Intensive Care Unit and three are on ventilators, Gov. Mike Dunleavy told reporters Tuesday. 

No new deaths were reported Tuesday.

A total of 290,744 tests have been conducted to date. The average percentage of daily positive tests for the previous seven days is 2.36%.

Alaska is currently ranked first in the nation for tests performed per capita, the governor noted.

Industry and labor officials joined the governor Tuesday evening to discuss the state’s distribution plan for federal CARES Act funding. 

A total of 740 businesses have applied for state CARES Act assistance, according to AIDEA Executive Director Alan Weitzner. Alaska was awarded $1.25 billion in federal COVID-19 relief funding. 

After some debate, the federal government released the businesses that received federal Paycheck Protection Loans. It remains unclear whether the state will follow suit with businesses that qualify for state-distributed aid.

The City of Fairbanks announced it will be launching Sept. 1 the second phase of distribution federal relief to businesses, nonprofits and medical facilities. 

Applications will be accepted through Sept. 30 and funds will be distributed thereafter. 

As of Tuesday, the City of Fairbanks had distributed $2,847,950 to 174 businesses and non-profit organizations, $5,515,678 to medical facilities and $823,656 to individuals and families.

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