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 Fairbanks North Star Borough recorded 24 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 among residents on Friday, another daily high.

The borough’s total was more than one third of the 63 resident cases reported Saturday by the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services.

Announcement of the 24 new Fairbanks borough cases comes one day after the report of 16 new resident cases in the borough, which then was the record high for the area since the pandemic began earlier this year.

The just-concluded week saw other firsts within the borough: The borough government on Thursday reported the first two cases among its workforce, leading to the closure of the Juanita Helms Administration Center so that it could be cleaned over the weekend. And Fairbanks Correctional Center reported its first case among the inmate population.

Saturday’s update from the state health department also includes 14 new nonresident cases and one additional nonresident case that was initially listed as a resident case on July 6, bringing to 78 the combined daily total of resident and nonresident cases announced Saturday.

Seven of the new nonresident cases are of workers in the mining industry in the Southeast Fairbanks Census Area, a large region that includes Delta Junction, Eagle, Tok and lands all the way to the Canada border. Pogo gold mine, 87 miles southeast of Fairbanks, last month reported three of its nonresident workers had contracted the virus, but none of the nonresident cases reported Saturday is associated with the mine or its contractors, according to Wendie MacNaughton, spokeswoman for owner company Northern Star Resources.

The seven other nonresident cases are of workers in Anchorage, the Nome Census Area and the combined Bristol Bay and Lake & Peninsula boroughs. Their industries were not listed.

Of the new resident cases announced Saturday, the state provided the following community breakdown: Anchorage, 29; Fairbanks, 23; Yukon-Koyukuk Census Area, 2; and one each in Bethel, Eagle River, Houston, Juneau, Matanuska-Susitna Borough, North Pole, Palmer, Seward and Soldotna.

The total number of Alaska cases is now 1,385. The total number of nonresident cases is 273. Seventeen Alaskans have died of COVID-19 or causes related to the disease. A total of 85 people have been hospitalized, including five new hospitalizations.

The new cases announced Saturday were reported in the 24-hour period that ended at 11:59 p.m. Friday.

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