COVID-19 cases grow at North Slope oil fields, Anchorage Pioneer Home, as state confirms 86 positives

ConocoPhillips’ Alpine facility on the North Slope. (Photo by Elizabeth Harball/AED)

State and oil company officials confirmed 13 cases of COVID-19 between two different North Slope oil fields, as Alaska reported 86 new cases of the virus Thursday.

To date, eight people have tested positive for COVID-19 at ConocoPhillips’ Alpine camp on the western North Slope, all of whom were flown to Anchorage for isolation, spokeswoman Natalie Lowman said in an email this week. That’s up from two cases announced earlier this month.

Separately, at the huge Prudhoe Bay field operated by Hilcorp, five workers have tested positive, and 11 more close contacts are now in quarantine, the Anchorage Daily News reported Thursday.

Anchorage municipal officials, in a weekly memorandum, also confirmed four more cases of COVID-19 at the city’s Pioneer Home for the elderly, bringing the total number at that building to 16 — three employees and 13 residents.

The city also released a new tally of the total number of workers who tested positive for COVID-19 at an Anchorage fish processing plant operated by Copper River Seafoods. That’s up to 99 out of 135 employees — 56 cases had been confirmed at the plant previously.

Meanwhile, state health officials reported Thursday that they’d identified 86 new cases of COVID-19: 84 residents and two nonresidents.

That brings the total number of cases among Alaskans to 4,520 and non-residents to 812. Among Alaska residents, there are 3,163 active cases and 1,328 have or are presumed to have recovered.

Among nonresidents in the state, there are 627 active and 185 recovered or presumed to have recovered.

There were no new deaths reported in Alaska, leaving the total at 29.

New resident cases reported in Southeast Alaska include four from Juneau, one from Douglas, and one from Ketchikan.

New cases elsewhere in the state include 41 from Anchorage, 10 from Fairbanks, four from Palmer, four from Wasilla, three from Kotzebue, two from Eagle River, two from Kenai, two from Kodiak, two from Utqiagvik, two from Bethel, one from North Pole, one from an unidentified community in the Valdez-Cordova Census Area, one from an unidentified community in the Yukon-Koyukuk Census Area, one from Big Lake, one from Houston and one from Nome.

The non-residents include one in Juneau and one in an unknown location.

The total number of COVID-19 related hospitalizations during the pandemic is 187 for residents and four for nonresidents. There are 45 people currently in the hospital who have tested positive for COVID-19 and another six who are suspected to have the disease and awaiting test results. Six of those 51 people are on ventilators.

A total of 312,647 tests have been administered in the state, up 1,798 from Wednesday’s report.

In other data, hospitals reported that 920 inpatient beds are occupied, while 518 are available, 87 of 153 ICU beds and 28 of 285 ventilators are in use by both COVID and non-COVID patients.

Tegan Hanlon contributed reporting.

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