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 8:24 p.m.: Alaska’s COVID-19 case count rose by 10 with an announcement Sunday night by the state Department of Health and Social Services.

Seven of the 10 new cases were in Anchorage, two were in the Matanuska-Susitna Borough and one was in Juneau.

The announcement brings the state total to 32. Of those, seven are from Fairbanks. The most recent Fairbanks case was announced Saturday night.

Dr. Joe McLaughlin, the state’s epidemiologist, said at least two of the new Anchorage cases have no clearly identified contact with a confirmed case.

“This indicates that community transmission of COVID-19 appears to be occurring in the Anchorage area,” he said.

Anchorage Mayor Ethan Berkowitz on Friday issued an emergency “hunker down” ordinance stating that “Everyone currently in the Municipality of Anchorage shall stay at home as much as possible” and ordering non-critical businesses and entities to close.

All of the new cases were in adults; none were hospitalized, according to the department’s announcement.

“All of these persons are isolating themselves at home and their close contacts are being asked to self-quarantine for 14 days and monitor for symptoms,” the announcement reads.

“One of the Anchorage cases had recent travel outside of Alaska,” it continues. “The remaining cases are not known to be travel-related at this time.”

The Section of Epidemiology is investigating the remaining cases in cooperation with Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, the Anchorage Health Department and local public health nurses, the announcement reads.

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