Alaska reported the deaths of four Alaskans with COVID-19 and 144 new cases on Wednesday, according to the Department of Health and Social Services COVID-19 dashboard.
All of the deaths were recent, according to state health officials. One of the people to die with the virus was an Anchorage woman in her 20s, much younger than a number of the other Alaskans who have died. Two were men from Anchorage, one in his 70s and the other in his 80s.
The fourth death involved a Juneau resident in her 60s who died early Tuesday morning and was reported by local officials the same day.
State officials did not say if the four people who died suffered from any underlying medical conditions.
Sixty-four Alaskans have died with COVID-19 since the pandemic began here in March. Still, the state’s death rate per 100,000 residents remains among the lowest in the country.
Tuesday marked the 21st straight day that daily reported cases have hit triple digits.
The state’s average case rate over 14 days that’s used to gauge community spread keeps rising, state officials say. As of Wednesday, rates were highest in the Northwest region with 37.76 — nearly four times the level of 10 per 100,000 that triggers high-alert status. Fairbanks North Star Borough was at 34.71, Anchorage was at 29.83 and Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta region was at 20.36. A large Interior region surrounding Fairbanks was at 11.27.
At more than 9 cases per 100,000, the Kenai Peninsula Borough, City and Borough of Juneau and the Mat-Su Borough were approaching the high-alert level. The levels can dictate school and nursing home policies.
Statewide as of Tuesday, 40 people were hospitalized with COVID-19 while 16 other hospital patients were awaiting test results, according to state data.
Of the new cases reported by the state Wednesday, it wasn’t clear how many patients were showing symptoms of the virus when they tested positive. While people might get tested more than once, each case reported by the state health department only represents one person.
Of the 144 new cases of COVID-19 involving residents, 89 were in Anchorage, plus two in Chugiak and 11 in Eagle River; one was in Fritz Creek, one was in Homer, and one was in Soldotna; 11 were in Fairbanks and two were in North Pole; one was in Palmer and two were in Wasilla; four were in Utqiagvik; three were in Kotzebue; five were in Juneau; one was in Sitka; and one was in Bethel.
Among communities smaller than 1,000 not identified to protect confidentiality, there was one case each in the southern Kenai Peninsula; four in Nome Census Area; one in Northwest Arctic Borough; one in Bethel Census Area; and one in Bristol Bay plus Lake and Peninsula boroughs.
There was one nonresident case reported Wednesday in a seafood industry worker in Anchorage, state health officials say.
The state’s test positivity rate as of Wednesday was 4.48% over a seven-day rolling average. The rate reflects the number of positive results divided by total tests performed. Health officials say levels over 5% may indicate communities aren’t doing enough testing.