Alaska health department confirms 10 new COVID-19 cases

Update (6:16 p.m.) — Tegan Hanlon, Alaska Public Media

Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy speaks at a news conference on COVID-19 in Anchorage, March 25, 2020. (Creative Commons photo by Office of Gov. Mike Dunleavy)

The number of known COVID-19 cases in Alaska grew to 69 by Thursday, up from 59 confirmed cases the day before, as the disease continues to spread throughout the state and the country.

The new cases include five newly-diagnosed Alaskans from the Anchorage area and two from Fairbanks. Two are from North Pole and one is from Juneau, according to the latest data from the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services, updated daily.

One person is under the age of 18, two are between the ages of 19 and 29, five are between the ages of 30 and 59 and two are over the age of 60, Alaska Chief Medical Officer Dr. Anne Zink said at a news conference Thursday evening. Four are male and six are female, Zink said.

The number of coronavirus-related hospitalizations remained the same. Three Alaskans have been hospitalized with COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus. The disease has killed one Alaskan.

Of the newly-infected Alaskans, four had been in close contact with someone who also had the disease and six of the cases remain under investigation, Zink said.

More than 2,300 COVID-19 tests had been performed in Alaska by Wednesday, according to the health department.

The Associated Press reported Thursday that the U.S. now leads the world in the number of known COVID-19 cases, with the number of people known to be infected topping 82,000, according to a count by Johns Hopkins University. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported more than 990 deaths.

This story has been updated.

Original story — Rashah McChesney, KTOO

Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy speaks about the state's COVID-19 response from the Atwood Building in Anchorage on March 20, 2020.
Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy speaks about the state’s COVID-19 response from the Atwood Building in Anchorage on March 20. Also pictured: Department of Health and Social Services Commissioner Adam Crum, Chief Medical Officer Dr. Anne Zink, and an unidentified sign language interpreter. (Creative Commons photo courtesy Alaska Governor’s Office)

Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s latest COVID-19 press conference is scheduled for 6 p.m. today.

The governor, Health and Social Services Commissioner Adam Crum, and Chief Medical Officer Dr. Anne Zink have been holding these briefings almost daily since March 10.

They’ve shared updates on the number of people in the state with confirmed cases, announced public health mandates, and explained the administration’s strategy and rationale.

The number of known COVID-19 cases in Alaska grew to 69 by Thursday, up from 59 confirmed cases the day before.

That’s according to the latest numbers from the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services, updated daily.

The new cases include five newly-diagnosed patients from Anchorage, two from Fairbanks, two from North Pole and one from Juneau, according to the department’s data. COVID-19 is the disease caused by the coronavirus.

To date, Dunleavy’s administration has imposed 10 public health mandates that have reshaped daily life across Alaska to combat the spread of the virus. Those mandates and other Alaska-specific COVID-19 resources and information are available at coronavirus.alaska.gov.

There is no statewide shelter-in-place order, though many Alaskan communities have imposed versions of them.

During an extended press conference on COVID-19 on Wednesday night, the state’s former chief medical officer spoke to the effectiveness of those types of orders. Dr. Jay Butler is now the deputy director for infectious diseases at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or CDC.

“In terms of what’s happening in the United States, we’re probably only about a week into — in some parts of the country — doing that kind of hunkering down,” Butler said, calling into the meeting from Atlanta. “The cases that are being diagnosed now were most likely acquired seven to 10 days ago. So we’re only at the point where we might begin to see some impact from the steps that had been taken.”

Across the United States by Thursday, there were more than 68,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 994 deaths, according to the CDC.

You can watch today’s press conference live on this post, the governor’s Facebook or Livestream pages, or on 360 North television.

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