COVID-19 Update: Total Cases In Alaska 59; Total Cases in Ketchikan 11
Residents Urged to Shelter in Place: At the current rate of spread, Ketchikan could have over 400 positive cases of COVID-19 by the end of next week
By MARY KAUFFMAN
March 25, 2020
Most of these new cases are still under investigation. According to the DHSS, three of today's new cases are known to be travel-related and three are close contacts of previously diagnosed individuals. Most individuals are adults, but three are younger adults aged 19-29.
Of these total cases, three are hospitalized; two were added in this most recent 24-hour period.
“This clearly represents a considerable increase in our cases,” said Dr. Joe McLaughlin, Alaska’s State Epidemiologist. “In order to slow down the transmission rate, it is imperative that all Alaskans strictly adhere to state and local social distancing directives and also promptly isolate themselves from others if they develop any symptoms of a respiratory infection.”
Tuesday, The Alaska Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS) announced six new cases of COVID-19 in four Alaska communities – Fairbanks (2), Juneau (1), Ketchikan (2) and Sterling (1). All of these new cases were in adults. The Juneau case was travel-related, and two other cases (Fairbanks and Sterling) were acquired from close contacts. The remaining three of these cases are still being investigated.
Also on Tuesday, the Alaska Department of Health & Social Services announced the first COVID-19 case to be hospitalized and the first Alaska resident to have died from COVID-19. The decedent was a resident of Southeast Alaska who died on March 16, 2020, in a health care facility in King County, Washington after a prolonged stay there. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), this case is counted as an Alaska fatality, even though this individual was not infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 in Alaska and also died out of state.
Tuesday evening, the Ketchikan Emergency Operations Center received information from the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS) that there was one more positive in Ketchikan along with two reported in the afternoon, bringing the total of positive cases in Ketchikan on Tuesday to nine (9).
On Tuesday, the Ketchikan individual confirmed positive, upon experiencing symptoms of illness, self-quarantined and sought testing through a local provider. The testing was processed by the State of Alaska laboratory.
The other two Ketchikan positive individuals on Tuesday, upon experiencing symptoms of illness, self-quarantined and sought testing through the Creekside Family Medical Clinic. The testing was processed by a private lab. These two individuals do not have a history of recent travel.
And today, Wednesday, the Ketchikan Emergency Operations Center received information from the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS) that there have been two (2) new positive test results for COVID-19 in Ketchikan. This brings the total number of positive cases in Ketchikan to eleven (11). (Note: Tuesday's evening's Ketchikan positive case was counted on the DHSS figures for today - thus 3 reported in the DHSS figures today.)
The two new Ketchikan cases today were identified as individuals who do not have a history of recent travel. Both individuals had been in close contact to persons who were previously reported as testing positive to COVID-19. These two individuals were identified through the contact investigation by Public Health, were placed into self-quarantine, and were tested for COVID-19 at the direction of Public Health.
Again, as of Wednesday afternoon, the number of positive cases of COVID-19 in Ketchikan is eleven (11). Of these cases, three (3) individuals had a recent history of travel, and eight (8) individuals did not have a recent history of travel, but were identified as having been in close contact with an individual diagnosed with COVID-19.
The Ketchikan Emergency Operations Center has seen exponential spread of COVID-19 in Ketchikan this week because it is so highly contagious. All Ketchikan residents must take this virus seriously and take actions to help stop the spread now. At the current rate of spread, Ketchikan could have over 400 positive cases of COVID-19 by the end of next week. The Ketchikan Emergency Operations Center urges all do their part, and in this way Ketchikan can reduce that number dramatically and contain the spread.
In keeping with the emergency mayoral proclamation issued on March 21st by the mayors of the City of Ketchikan, City of Saxman, and Ketchikan Gateway Borough, citizens are strongly urged to hunker down, shelter in place, and stay home, in order to contain the spread of COVID-19. Follow all health mandates issued by Governor Dunleavy, the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS), and the Center for Disease Control (CDC).
The Alaska case count webpage at coronavirus.alaska.gov now lists cases by community and region, instead of just by region as previously reported. One clarifying note is that the Homer case is an individual who was tested in Anchorage after returning from a trip to the Lower 48; that person has stayed in Anchorage and has not returned to Homer since becoming ill.
So far the communities in Alaska that have had laboratory-confirmed cases include Anchorage (including JBER), Eagle River/Chugiak, Homer, Seward, Soldotna, Sterling, Fairbanks, North Pole, Palmer, Ketchikan and Juneau.
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