ANCHORAGE, Alaska — Alaska’s unprecedented COVID-19 crisis escalated Thursday with the state reporting seven new deaths, a record 1,330 new cases and a near-record 209 hospitalizations.
It’s the third time in two weeks that the daily record has been broken: The previous highs were recorded Wednesday, with 1,251 cases, and Sept. 15, with 1,095 cases.
The recent surge has meant the state is still working through a backlog of cases, said Dr. Joe McLaughlin, state epidemiologist.
“At this point, there’s no indication that I’ve seen that we are leveling off,” he said.
Over the last week, Alaska saw a 29% increase in cases, state data showed.
By Thursday there were 209 people hospitalized around the state with confirmed cases of COVID-19, according to a state dashboard. That’s a near record, and far above last winter’s previous peak.
Hospitals say their numbers are likely an undercount of the true impact of COVID-19, since they don’t include some long-term COVID-19 patients who no longer test positive but still need hospital care.
The new numbers come a day after state officials announced they would implement crisis standards of care statewide, a worst-case scenario that forces hospitals to ration care due to resource and staffing limitations.
Those limitations and continually high numbers of COVID-19 patients have overwhelmed health care facilities around the state. At least one rural cardiac patient died recently when a bed in Anchorage wasn’t available.
Providence Alaska Medical Center has faced limited resources over the last 10 days, including equipment, space, staffing shortages and could not take transfers from other parts of the state, said Dr. Michael Bernstein, chief medical officer at Providence.