JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — Hospital capacity is a concern as COVID-19 cases in Alaska rise, and testing isn’t keeping pace with new cases, the state health department reported Wednesday.
Since the pandemic’s start, Alaska has reported about 16,700 confirmed resident cases of COVID-19. Of those, about 10,200 cases are considered active, and there have been 84 COVID-19-related deaths, according to the department.
In many cases, contact tracers haven’t been able to identify where a person got the virus, the department said. “This means that there are cases in our communities that we do not know about.”
In an overview of the past week, the department said cases continued to rise fastest among those between the ages of 20 and 39, though the proportion of cases in older Alaskans slightly increased.
The department recommends Alaskans avoid gatherings; wear masks around non-household members; maintain physical distance from others and frequently wash their hands.
It encourages people to be tested even if they have mild symptoms, such as fever, sore throat, fatigue or a new loss of taste or smell.
For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness and death.