Alaskans hospitalized with positive or pending COVID-19 tests nearly doubled in a day

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The number of people hospitalized in Alaska with confirmed COVID-19 cases or those under investigation nearly doubled in a day, new state data shows.

There were 12 people in that category on the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services database as of Tuesday. On Wednesday, that number jumped to 22.

It wasn’t immediately clear what led to the increase, or where the hospitalizations occurred. A state health spokesman at midday Wednesday said he was checking on that information.

The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Alaska increased by 20 on Tuesday, as reported by the state Wednesday. The daily spike marks the latest double-digit increase since late May, after more than a month of low daily case counts.

State officials including Gov. Mike Dunleavy and chief medical officer Dr. Anne Zink have said they expected the state’s daily COVID counts to rise as Alaska reopened much of its economy. They also said, however, that the best-case scenario didn’t involve a parallel increase in people sick enough to require hospitalization.

Nine of the new cases reported Wednesday were in Anchorage residents, according to the state COVID-19 dashboard. It wasn’t clear how many, if any, were associated with a large outbreak at the Providence Transitional Care Center in East Anchorage.

One resident died Sunday as a result of a COVID infection, becoming the state’s 11th death from the virus. Another 41 residents and caregivers tested positive as of Monday, with more test results pending.

Five new cases were reported in Homer. That’s where the first ferry in the Alaska Marine Highway System to report confirmed cases of the virus on board docked Monday night.

The state ferry M/V Tustumena arrived in Homer with one positive case of COVID in a crew member diagnosed Saturday. Six passengers on board tested negative Monday night in Homer, as did 28 other crew members. But another six crew members tested positive, officials said. It wasn’t immediately clear how many of the new Homer cases were among crew members, if any.

Another four residents in different Kenai Peninsula communities tested positive, according to state data. One person each in Mat-Su and Sitka also did.

As of Wednesday, Alaska was reporting 190 active COVID-19 cases out of 593 total since March. A total of 49 people who tested positive for the virus have required hospitalization.

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