Alaska reports a record 13 deaths as surge in coronavirus cases continues

A cot inside of the Rainforest Recovery Center on Monday, April 7, 2020 in Juneau, Alaska. (Photo by Rashah McChesney/KTOO)

The state on Tuesday reported 13 deaths tied to the coronavirus and 583 new infections.

It’s the largest number of deaths reported in a single day by the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services since the pandemic began, and it comes as the number of infections in Alaska continues to swell, threatening the state’s health care capacity.

It wasn’t immediately clear Tuesday afternoon where the residents were from and how recently they had died. This story will be updated with more information when it becomes available.

Across most of the country, coronavirus cases are spiking, leading to warnings about a shrinking number of hospital beds and, in some places, more restrictions.

Every region of Alaska continues to be in a high-alert level, meaning there’s widespread community transmission and many undetected cases, according to the state health department.

The number of hospitalizations tied to the virus also continues to rise.

By Monday, the state reported that a total of 133 people with the coronavirus were hospitalized, and another 13 were waiting on test results.

The total number of Alaskans who have died from the virus is now 115.

The 583 new infections announced Tuesday stretch from the North Slope to the Aleutians to the Princes of Wales-Hyder area, but most of them, about 65%, are tied to the Municipality of Anchorage.

Western Alaska also continues to be hit hard by the pandemic, with the Yukon-Kuskokwim Health Corporation on Monday reporting 62 new cases among residents of the small village of Akiak.

State health officials have also cautioned that their daily updates of infection numbers only provide a slice of the picture of the spread of infection in Alaska. The true number of infections is much higher than the case count publicly reported each day, they say, because staff can no longer keep up with data entry and validating each case.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.