Alaska recorded the largest one-day total to date of new coronavirus cases — 353 resident and two nonresident cases—and a news release on Saturday said numbers coming out today will be even higher.
Contact tracers are falling behind and the state is asking people who are notified of a positive COVID-19 test to call everyone they have had person-to-person contact with, according to a news release from the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services.
The online state COVID-19 data dashboard, which is updated daily by noon, showed the number of new cases reported in the Fairbanks North Star Borough for Friday was 27.
The total number of virus cases for Alaska since the pandemic started has hit 13,535, according to state data.
“Alaska’s COVID-19 cases are accelerating, driven by widespread community transmission throughout most of Alaska, with all but three of the state’s regions now in the high alert zone,” stated the Saturday evening news release.
In recent weeks, testing in Alaska has intensified along with the growing case count, the news release stated.
The state has boosted staffing to help keep pace with the growing number of virus cases, but the backlog is growing, according to the news release.
“Our current situation will not last forever. There is much to be hopeful about with more treatment options and vaccines on the horizon, but now is the time for all of us to take all the steps we can as individuals and as communities to help slow the spread,” Alaska’s Chief Medical Officer Dr. Anne Zink said in a prepared statement.
Friday’s jump in cases was the second large one in two days. On Thursday, 242 new people were reportedly diagnosed with COVID-19.
The state online data hub shows a total of 58 people in Alaska are hospitalized for COVID-19.
The data hub shows that in the Interior, five people are hospitalized and two of 20 ventilators are occupied.
Four patients tested positive for COVID-19 at the Alaska Psychiatric Institute in Anchorage, according to a state news release late Friday.
“API is working closely with the Alaska Section of Epidemiology to conduct contact tracing and implementing additional infection control measures to protect staff and patients,” the release states. “This brings the total number of cases at the facility to eight since the beginning of the pandemic: three staff members and five patients.”
Saturday’s report covers the 24-hour period that ended 11:59 p.m. Friday.
Contact staff writer Amanda Bohman at 459-7545. Follow her on Twitter: @FDNMborough.