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

An additional 32 people have tested positive for the COVID-19 disease, the state Department of Health and Social Services reported on Sunday.

Of those, 27 are of Alaska residents, with 22 of them Anchorage residents. Two are residents of Fairbanks. The others are from Seward and Palmer.

The other five cases are of nonresidents, with one of those of someone working in an undisclosed industry in the Fairbanks North Star Borough.

Sunday’s announced cases were a decrease over recent days.

The state on Saturday reported 55 new cases, preceded by 60 on Friday and 50 on Thursday. Each of those totals includes resident and nonresident cases confirmed in the 24-hour period of the previous day.

A health department projection shows the case count continuing an upward trajectory.

Dr. Anne Zink, the state’s chief medical officer, on Saturday expressed concern that the state’s system of contact tracing is being overwhelmed. The state has announced steps, including the hiring of additional tracers, to improve the location and monitoring of people who may have been infected by a person who is confirmed to have the COVID-19 disease.

Zink took to Twitter on Saturday evening to sound an alarm about the high number of cases, particularly in Anchorage, and to urge people to check a list of places where some infected people have indicated they were present.

“Notice: possible COVID exposures. Please check to see if you may have been exposed. Unfortunately, the Anchorage Health Department and our team are having a hard time keeping up with the number of cases and a large number of contacts with each case.

“We used to be able to contact almost all close contacts to known COVID patients — that is where someone was within 6 feet someone with COVID during their infectious period of 15 min or more, usually without both being masked,” she tweeted Saturday evening.

“However, we are seeing a sharp rise in cases with more contacts or they cannot identify all the people they may have been in contact with during the infectious period. As a matter of public health, Anchorage is listing locations where people may have been exposed. “

The list of bars and restaurants and the date ranges is available from the Anchorage Health Department at https://bit.ly/38ytMoC

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