State announces eight new coronavirus cases, bringing statewide tally to 22

This scanning electron microscope image shows SARS-CoV-2 (in yellow) — the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 — isolated from a patient in the U.S., emerging from the surface of cells (in blue/pink) cultured in a lab. (National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases – Rocky Mountain Laboratories)

Updated 03/22 at 2:45 p.m.

State officials announced Saturday that they have found eight new cases of COVID-19 in five communities across Alaska. 

There is two cases in Anchorage, one in Fairbanks, three in Ketchikan, one in Sterling and one in Soldotna. 

In a late evening media release, Department of Health and Social Services officials said some of the cases were travel related, but most were not travel-related. 

A DHSS spokesperson said that means those people have not traveled out of state. So, it’s going to take time to investigate where and how they could have been infected — and if they had contact with any of the other people who have tested positive for the virus in Alaska.

There are now 22 people in Alaska who have tested positive for the virus.  

Each of the adults who tested positive is currently quarantining in their own homes; none have been hospitalized. 

According to the release, State Epidemiologist Joe McLaughlin said the biggest challenge to the state’s efforts to contain the virus is people continuing to interact with others when they have symptoms. 

“I can’t underscore this point enough: if you feel even mild symptoms of a respiratory infection, you need to immediately go home and stay away from others until your symptoms are resolved,” he said.

Correction: A previous version of this story misstated the number of cases that are not travel-related. Five of the people who are sick have not traveled out of state. 

This is a breaking news story that will be updated. 

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