Alaska is leading the nation in the transmission of the Covid-19 virus. The state has beat its daily case count record again and surpassed 100,000 cases for the pandemic in total.
“Alaska is right now number one in the country with respect to rising cases,” said state epidemiologist Joe McLaughlin, quoting data from the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, as well as The New York Times.
One Covid death was reported by Fairbanks Memorial Hospital on Wednesday but more information was not available. The state reported another death as well, an Anchorage man in his 80s.
In the past seven days, Alaska saw a daily average of more than 823 cases per 100,000 people, which is ”more than a double national incidence right now,” McLaughlin said.
“Our total resident cases have reached over 100,000,” McLaughlin added. “And remember, these are just the cases that are reported.”
On Tuesday alone, Alaska reported 1,251 new people identified with the virus across the state — the highest daily count so far, according to the Department of Health and Social Services.
McLaighlin said that while “on the national level, we are starting to see a bit of a leveling off,” especially in Southern states, “in Alaska, unfortunately, we are still in the upward trajectory, pretty much all of the state.”
Over the last week, Alaska saw a 29% increase in cases compared to the week before.
Locally, Fairbanks reported 133 new cases, North Pole reported 32, and none more were reported in other places in Fairbanks North Star Borough. Delta Junction reported 10, Yukon-Koyukuk Census Area reported two and Southeast Fairbanks Census Area reported two as well.
The Denali Borough’s Covid Dashboard shows eight new Covid cases for residents and two for non-residents, during the past seven days
Among other places, Anchorage reported 449 cases, Wasilla reported 181, Palmer reported 96 and Juneau reported 40.
As of Wednesday, 200 people are hospitalized for Covid-19 in Alaska, 34 of them are on ventilators. This is 17.8% of all Alaska hospitalizations.
McLaughlin said that the number of beds occupied by Covid patients this past month is “much higher than we ever seen before during the pandemic.”
Alaska hospitals continue struggling to respond to a growing demand for medical care, given their limited employees and resources. Fairbanks Memorial Hospital and Denali Center have had to transition from conventional standards of care to alternate care strategies in some areas.
“Our hospitals are full, and it’s been really trying on our health care providers but they are rallying and working long hours and dealing with really sad situations,” McLaughlin said. “Lots of people coming to the hospital saying, ‘If only I got vaccinated; I wish I got vaccinated.’”
Alaska is still lagging behind other states in vaccination rates.
As of now, 58% of adult Alaskans have been fully vaccinated and more than 50% of people in Fairbanks.
“Alaska currently has the highest case rate in the nation so we all need to rally together and do what we can to get our rates down,” McLaughlin said.