State connect local COVID cases to outbreaks in Anchorage, Eagle River

Jun 1, 2020

Credit CDC

The State of Alaska reported 27 new cases of COVID-19 yesterday -- the largest single day increase since the pandemic struck the state. The report came about a week after the busy Memorial Day weekend and the announcement by the governor that businesses could open wider.
    The Alaska Department of Health and Social Services announced that of the 27 new cases reported Sunday, 10 of 12 reported in Anchorage were at a long term care facility.
    There were also four cases in Wasilla, three in Eagle River, three in Kenai, two in Homer, one in Anchor Point, one in Soldotna and one in Kenai Peninsula “other,” meaning in an unincorporated area or a town of less than 1,000 people.
    During Governor Dunleavy’s press conference Sunday evening he said the increases were expected.
    “Well, we know that the numbers will rise in Alaska because the advisories have been lifted across businesses, society, entities. And so this is not a shock,” Dunleavy said. “Again, we want to keep an eye on it. We start seeing a pretty steep incline here over (a) set period of time, we're certainly going to react to that. We'll have that discussion with Alaskans.”
    In a response to a question posed by the Homer News, Alaska Chief Medical Officer Dr. Anne Zink took note of the steady increase of cases on the Kenai Peninsula, especially around Homer.
    “There's clearly more cases happening down in the Kenai Peninsula, particularly the south Kenai Peninsula, as mentioned right now, and it appears to be that a series of these, maybe not all, but a quite a few of them appear to be related to a couple of celebrations that took place of kind of know people that knew each other and then spread amongst known people between each other,” Zink said. “We'll have to watch it over the next couple of weeks to try to really make sure that doesn't spread out from there and continue to escalate.”
    Zink said that the new Southern Peninsula cases appear to be also connected to outbreaks elsewhere in Southcentral Alaska.
    “It does also appear some of the south Kenai cases may be related to a couple at Anchorage and Eagle River cases,” Zink said. “So we're really looking at these gatherings, other ways that people kind of cluster and get together in ways that the disease then spreads amongst those clusters. And that's what we're seeing in the South Central region right now.”
    Regarding tests given locally, out of 1,317 total COVID-19 tests administered at South Peninsula Hospital through Sunday, there have been 1,153 negative, 21 positive, and 143 currently pending. Those numbers include samples taken at the hospital's new location for testing down on The Spit. There has also been one positive case of COVID-19 reported previously by SVT Health-and-Wellness.

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