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Tracking COVID-19 in Alaska: 257 new cases reported Sunday, no new deaths – Anchorage Daily News

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No new deaths were reported Sunday. In total, 223 Alaskans and one nonresident with COVID-19 have died since the pandemic reached the state in March. Alaska’s death rate per capita is among the lowest in the country, though the state’s size and vulnerable health care system complicate national comparisons.

By Sunday, 76 people with COVID-19 were hospitalized and another six people in the hospitals were suspected to have the virus.

The state’s daily case counts have fallen significantly during recent weeks, after the state saw a surge in November and early December. Although the infections have decreased, health officials have continued to express concern about a spike in cases following the holidays. The statewide alert level is still high.

Vaccines reached Alaska in mid-December, and by Friday, 25,058 people had received the first dose of the vaccine, according to the state’s vaccine monitoring dashboard. Health care workers and adults older than 65 are now eligible for vaccination, although appointment slots are limited and filled up quickly when the scheduling window opened Wednesday.

People stand outside the Alaska Airlines Center and check in Alaskans 65 and older for their scheduled appointments to receive the Pfizer-BioNtech COVID-19 vaccine in Anchorage on Saturday, Jan. 9, 2021. (Emily Mesner / ADN)

Vaccine appointments are made at covidvax.alaska.gov or by calling 907-646-3322, leaving a message and waiting for a callback from an operator.

Of the 251 new cases reported Sunday in Alaska residents, 85 were in Anchorage, one in Chugiak and four in Eagle River; one was in Homer, one in Kenai, one in Nikiski, one in Seward, three in Soldotna and two in Sterling; seven were in Kodiak; two were in Cordova; 25 were in Fairbanks and four in North Pole; eight were in Palmer, 40 in Wasilla and one in Willow; one was in Kotzebue; two were in Juneau; one was in Ketchikan; one was in Sitka; three were in Unalaska; and 11 were in Bethel.

Among communities smaller than 1,000 people not named to protect privacy, there was one case in the northern Kenai Peninsula Borough and two in the southern portion of the borough; two were in the Fairbanks North Star Borough; two were in the Yukon-Koyukuk Census Area; 14 were in the North Slope Borough; three were in the Northwest Arctic Borough; 18 were in the Bethel Census Area; and three were in the Kusilvak Census Area.

Six cases were reported Sunday in nonresidents, including three in Anchorage, one in Eagle River, one in Wasilla and one case in a location that was still being determined.

While people might get tested more than once, each case reported by the state health department represents only one person.

The state’s data doesn’t specify whether people testing positive for COVID-19 have symptoms. More than half of the nation’s infections are transmitted from asymptomatic people, according to CDC estimates.

The statewide test positivity rate as of Sunday was 4.49% over a seven-day average. Health officials say anything above 5% can indicate inadequate testing and widespread community transmission. The state peaked at over 9% positivity in November.

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