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 man who died Sunday at Fairbanks Memorial Hospital due to complications linked to COVID-19 is a resident of the village of Fort Yukon, located about 145 miles northeast of Fairbanks. Additionally, the Yukon-Kuskokwim Health Consortium announced the death of an individual who tested positive in Bethel and was medically evacuated to Anchorage over the weekend. 

Andrew Firmin, Fort Yukon’s city manager, confirmed the death of the Fort Yukon man Monday morning, noting the man, who suffered underlying health conditions, had been medically evacuated to Fairbanks from Fort Yukon last week. 

This marks the first COVID-19 related death for the small community of 600 that has seen an outbreak of at least 21 cases over the last two weeks. 

Yukon Flats Health Center Clinic Director Debbie McCarty told the Daily News-Miner Monday that no new cases have been identified in the community but the clinic recently received 300 additional test kits and plans to test the entire community whether or not individuals show symptoms of the disease.

The death was reported by Fairbanks Memorial Hospital officials in a Sunday afternoon press release that did not list the elderly man’s community of residence. The information was included in Monday’s state Department of Health and Social Services daily COVID-19 case report. 

The second death was announced by the Yukon-Kuskokwim health group in a Monday press release and will be included in the state’s daily case count Tuesday. No additional information about the individual’s sex, age range or place of residence was available as of Monday evening.

These two deaths mark the 21st and 22nd Alaskans to die from complications related to COVID-19, reported just days after the 20th death, in Fairbanks, was announced by the state Saturday.

Additionally, the Denali Borough is reporting two new positive cases in non-residents, according to a Monday release from Borough Mayor Clay Walker. On of the new cases is a temporary employee in the Healy area working on a contracted project, and the second case is a seasonal employee working in the borough in the tourism industry. That brings Denali Borough cases to 10 total — one resident and 9 non-residents.

Also Monday, the State Department of Health and Social Services reported 104 new cases of COVID-19 in 98 residents and six nonresidents. 

Of the new cases, three Fairbanks have been confirmed to have tested positive. No new nonresidents have tested positive in the Fairbanks North Star Borough, according to Monday’s report. 

The Anchorage Municipality once again led Monday’s daily case count with 60 residents testing positive. 

The other resident cases included four from Palmer, three each from Eagle River, Juneau, the Northwest Arctic Borough, Utqiagvik and Wasilla, two each from Kotzebue and Sitka and one each from Chugiak, Cordova, Craig, Homer, Kusilvak Census Area, Soldotna, Valdez-Cordova Census Area, Willow, the combined Yakutat Borough and Hoonah-Angoon Census Area and Unalaska.

This brings the total number of Alaskans to have tested positive for the disease since mid-March to 2,622, about 68% of which are deemed active cases. 

Six more nonresidents have tested positive for the disease including one seafood industry worker in the Anchorage Municipality, one nonresident in the Ketchikan Gateway Borough whose reason to be in the state remains unknown and four nonresidents whose location and reason for being in the state remain unclear at this time. 

This brings the total number of nonresidents to have tested positive to 584. It remains unclear at this time how many of those cases are still active. 

One new hospitalization was reported Monday, bringing the total number of hospitalizations to 116. Currently there are 36 COVID-positive patients hospitalized statewide and an additional two patients who are under investigation and await test results.

No updated testing numbers were available in Monday’s report due to a data import issue, according to the state health department release. As of Sunday, 207,264 tests had been performed statewide.

Contact staff writer Erin McGroarty at 459-7544. Follow her at twitter.com/FDNMpolitics.