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Alaska records 933 new cases of COVID-19, while ICU capacity reduced to zero in part of the state

A healthcare provider, wearing several types of personal protective equipment that is being tracked by the State of Alaska, provides care on April 7, 2020, for a woman hospitalized in an isolation room in the critical care unit of Bartlett Hospital, in Juneau, Alaska. on (Photo by Rashah McChesney/KTOO)
A healthcare provider, wearing several types of personal protective equipment that is being tracked by the State of Alaska, provides care on April 7, 2020, for a woman hospitalized in an isolation room in the critical care unit of Bartlett Hospital, in Juneau, Alaska. on (Photo by Rashah McChesney/KTOO)

On Saturday, Alaska state health officials reported a record 933 new cases of COVID-19.

Most of them were Alaska residents, with the highest numbers in Anchorage (298), Wasilla (177) and Fairbanks (89). But there are new cases in communities from Utqiagvik to Dillingham to Metlakatla.

There are 25 new cases among nonresidents in the state as well.

One COVID-related death was reported on Saturday: a woman in her 70s from Anchorage.

There were 12 deaths in the state reported on Friday. Three were recent while the other nine were identified following a death certificate review, according to the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services.

So far, state health officials have reported more than 34,000 cases of COVID-19 among Alaska residents and more than 1300 in nonresidents in the state.

Every region in the state has areas where community transmission is widespread.

Right now, 150 people with COVID-19 and 14 waiting on test results are in hospitals all over the state. Among them, 24 are on ventilators.

On Friday, Anchorage health officials announced worsening pandemic metrics. The city only has five adult ICU beds left.

Nearby, the Mat-Su Borough is already at zero empty adult ICU beds.

COVID-19 patients typically spend much longer in ICU care than non-COVID patients, according to the Anchorage Health Department. Should hospitals run out of ICU space, director Heather Harris said they’ll increase capacity by reallocating some beds and staff for intensive care. But long-term, if case counts continue to stay high or rise further, Anchorage epidemiologist Janet Johnston says COVID-19 deaths will be frequent.

“This level of new cases translates into one or more new deaths per day as we move forward,” she said.

In the last week, Anchorage reported 11 deaths.

Rashah McChesney

Daily News Editor

I help the newsroom establish daily news priorities and do hands-on editing to ensure a steady stream of breaking and enterprise news for a local and regional audience.

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