Sarah Palmer holds up a swab before administering a COVID-19 test. The City and Borough of Juneau is offering free, asymptomatic testing. The drive-thru testing is available daily through Jan. 10 with the exception of New Year’s Day. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire)

Sarah Palmer holds up a swab before administering a COVID-19 test. The City and Borough of Juneau is offering free, asymptomatic testing. The drive-thru testing is available daily through Jan. 10 with the exception of New Year’s Day. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire)

COVID cases trending down

Numbers are falling fast, but remain high

The number of COVID-19 cases in Alaska and Juneau have been steadily trending down for weeks, according to state and city data, but the state is still reporting new case numbers in the hundreds daily.

The state reported 232 cases Monday and announced the total deaths in the state from COVID-19 had risen to 217.

According to the state’s COVID-19 data hub, the state’s average daily case rate, a key metric health officials use to monitor the spread of the virus, saw a dramatic decline after reaching an all-time high of 90.8 cases per 100,000 people over a 14-day period on Dec. 6, 2020. On Monday the state’s average daily case rate was 38.5.

Juneau’s highest daily case rate came in November, with 37.7 on Nov. 6, 2020, but on Monday it was 13.6. The average daily case rate factors into the City and Borough of Juneau’s health restrictions, limiting things like bar and restaurant capacity when the risks for COVID-19 spread are determined to be high. Under the city’s metrics, an average daily case rate of over 10 puts Juneau on a higher alert level. Juneau passed that case rate in October and hasn’t gone lower than 12.9 since.

The first rounds of vaccinations have already been distributed to health care workers, and the state announced Monday adults 65 and older can begin receiving inoculations as soon as next week.

[Alaskans over 65 to received vaccinations sooner than expected]

Juneau’s COVID-19 test processing machine is still in the calibration process, said Robert Barr, planning section chief for the City and Borough of Juneau’s Emergency Operations Center. The machine is currently functional, but not yet processing real tests, Barr said in an email Monday. Officials hope to have the calibration process finished by mid-January, he said, and for now the city is sending its tests to an out-of-state laboratory, Barr said.

• Contact reporter Peter Segall at psegall@juneauempire.com. Follow him on Twitter at @SegallJnuEmpire.

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