ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Alaska’s hospitals have not experienced a spike in patients and have enough capacity to provide care despite a recent increase in coronavirus cases, an industry official said.
Alaska set a record with a report by the state Monday of 197 new COVID-19 cases among residents, Alaska Public Media reported Monday.
Anchorage reported 116 new confirmed cases, a single-day total that was only exceeded once in late July.
The Fairbanks North Star Borough recorded 55 confirmed cases Monday, which is the highest total there since the start of the pandemic earlier this year.
State health officials issued a warning Monday that cases are continuing to rise.
The state’s hospitals are becoming busier, but that is not unusual heading into winter, said Jared Kosin, chief executive of the Alaska State Hospital and Nursing Home Association, a hospital trade group.
The number of coronavirus patients does not seem to be spiking, Kosin said.
“If you were to ask, ‘How is the hospital world looking today?’ It’s looking consistent with what it’s looked like before,” Kosin said. “There’s no major alarm bells going off. Things are intact.”
Hospitals are not experiencing unusual challenges in finding staff to care for patients, he said.
But Kosin stressed hospitals are observing a lagging indicator, referring to the time for people to become seriously ill or require hospitalization after being diagnosed with the virus.
For most people, the new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some — especially older adults and people with existing health problems — it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia, and death.
The number of infections is thought to be far higher because many people have not been tested, and studies suggest people can be infected with the virus without feeling sick.