Sixth COVID-19 death reported for Alaska

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Another Alaskan has died of COVID-19, according to the latest update on Sunday from the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services.

According to a press release April 5 from DHSS, the latest death is of a 71-year-old Anchorage resident who acquired the infection outside of Alaska, tested positive on March 28 and had been hospitalized in state. The patient had preexisting health conditions.

“We express our condolences to the family and loved ones of the Anchorage resident who died and is included in our case count today. Our thoughts are with them,” said DHSS Commissioner Adam Crum in the press release.

COVID-19 is the disease caused by the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2.

That brings the total to six Alaskans who have died either in Alaska or while staying in the Lower 49 states. The death of an Anchor Point man ages 30-39 who died Outside was announced on Saturday.

Fourteen new positive cases of COVID-19 also were announced on April 5, bringing the total count to 185. The latest results include four from Anchorage (one man ages 30-39, one man 70-79, one man 50-59, one woman 30-39), seven from Fairbanks (all women, two ages 10-19, one 30-39, one 40-49, one 50-59, one 60-69, one 70-79), two from Juneau (one man and one woman, both ages 60-69) and one man from Seward ages 50-59. On Saturday, the City of Seward reported that case after receiving a report from the Seward Community Health Center, but the number was not included in the official update yesterday from DHSS.

The new cases and death were reported from midnight to 11:59 p.m. April 4 and reflect data posted at noon April 5 on DHSS changed its new reporting schedule on Thursday.

One of the new Anchorage cases is a staff member at the McLaughlin Youth Center within the DHSS Division of Juvenile Justice. Division of Juvenile Justice Director Tracy Dompeling has been in close contact with the Alaska Section of Epidemiology and the Anchorage Health Department to facilitate contact investigations. The division will implement appropriate protective measures for both staff and residents, the press release said.

“Regarding the situation at McLaughlin, please know (the Division of Juvenile Justice) is working closely with state and local public health officials to ensure that (McLaughlin) residents, staff and anyone who may have been in contact with this positive case is aware of this situation and knows what we plan to do,” Crum said in the press release.

Because McLaughlin and other juvenile justice institutions are 24-hour facilities, staff cannot telecommute. In-person visitation for family and volunteers has been suspended since March 27, with visitation and services being done electronically. Other measures include include frequent hand-washing, routine disinfection of high-touch surfaces, and encouraging staff members who are sick to stay home, the press release said.

As of Sunday’s report, 20 Alaskans have been hospitalized.

In Homer, the latest test results from South Peninsula Hospital as of 11 a.m. Sunday are 84 total tests, 64 negative, one positive, and the rest pending.

The total number of cases for the Kenai Peninsula, including the dead Anchor Point man, are 12, with one in Anchor Point, two in Homer, one in Kenai, three in Seward, three in Soldotna and two in Sterling. One Seward case, one Soldotna case and two in Sterling are classified as local cases, with the rest all travel related. One of the Homer cases was a man who had traveled in the Lower 49 states, reported symptoms in Anchorage and self-isolated in Anchorage.

Nationally, as of Sunday the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported 304,826 positive cases in all 50 United States, the District of Columbia and territories, with 7,616 total deaths.

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