Alaska on Thursday reported six deaths and 355 new cases of COVID-19, according to the Department of Health and Social Services COVID-19 dashboard.
An Anchorage man in his 40s died recently, according to the state health department. The five additional deaths reported on Thursday were identified during a standard death certificate review, and they involved two Anchorage men in their 70s, one of whom died out of state; an Anchorage woman in her 80s; a Fairbanks woman in her 80s; and a woman from the Prince of Wales-Hyder Census Area in her 70s.
In total, 77 Alaskans with the virus have died since the start of the pandemic.
While Alaska’s death rate per capita remains among the lowest in the country, six deaths is the most reported in a single day by the state. The last time this many deaths were recorded in a single day was Sept. 25, but DHSS said at the time that several of those deaths had not occurred recently and were identified by the National Center for Health Statistics.
A record 67 people were hospitalized with the virus in Alaska as of Thursday, up from the previous record of 63 on Wednesday. An additional 22 people suspected of having COVID-19 were also hospitalized.
Of the 349 new cases reported among residents on Thursday, there were 129 cases in Anchorage; 44 in Wasilla; 20 in Eagle River; 20 in Palmer; 15 in Soldotna; 14 in Kenai; 13 in Chevak; 13 in Kodiak; 11 in Fairbanks; seven in Juneau; five in Chugiak; five in Sterling; four in North Pole; four in Utqiagvik; four in Delta Junction; three in Ketchikan; three in Bethel; two in Petersburg; two in Hooper Bay; two in Sitka; one in Homer; one in Nikiski; one in Big Lake; and one in Meadow Lakes.
Among communities smaller than 1,000 people that are not named to protect privacy, there were 11 in the Bethel Census Area; five in the northern Kenai Peninsula Borough; four in Yukon-Koyukuk Census Area; one in the southern Kenai Peninsula Borough; one in Southeast Fairbanks Census Area; one in the Matanuska-Susitna Borough; one in the Aleutians West Census Area; and one in Bristol Bay plus Lake and Peninsula boroughs.
There were also six nonresident cases reported Thursday: four in Fairbanks, one in Wasilla and one in Anchorage.
Of the new cases, 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.
The state’s testing positivity rate continued to rise and on Thursday reached 8.1% over a seven-day rolling average — a record high. A positivity rate over 5% can indicate high community transmission and not enough testing, health officials have said.
The test positivity rate was highest in the North Slope Borough at 50%, in the Kusilvak Census Area at 21.82% and in the Mat-Su Borough at 17.64%.