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State adds 20 to total coronavirus-related deaths in 2 days

Most deaths are older adults.

This article has been updated to include local data.

The state of Alaska reported 12 new COVID-19 deaths Friday, three of them recent, one day after state health officials reported eight recent deaths. Those bring the total to 141 COVID-19-connected deaths as of Friday afternoon.

During a news conference Thursday, Alaska’s chief medical officer Dr. Anne Zink said the eight deaths announced Thursday had all been within the last week.

“Hospital capacity is quite stretched,” she said.

The Department of Health and Social Services spokesperson Clinton Bennett said in an email the state considers a recent death to have occurred with the past week. According to DHSS’ website, health care facilities such as hospitals and nursing homes can report their deaths related to COVID-19 directly to the state. Other deaths must be verified through a more lengthy process, leading to delays in data reporting, according to DHSS.

[Health officials want Alaskans ready for vaccine]

Alaska reported record-breaking numbers of new cases this week. Wednesday the state broke its own record for new COVID-19 cases in a day with 689 but that record was beaten by Thursday’s 760. In addition to the 12 deaths, DHSS on Friday announced 756 new cases.

Of the 20 deaths reported this week the majorty were age 60 or older, according to DHSS. The youngest was a Kusilvak Census Area man in his 30s and a Bethel woman in her 50s, according to state data.

Though the City and Borough of Juneau remain on high alert according to both state and local metrics, state data show Juneau’s estimated epidemic curve trending down and shows an estimated negative daily growth rate of negative 2.49%.

The borough’s average daily case rate based on 100,000 people over a seven-day window was the lowest it’s been since October on Dec. 2, state data show, at 16.08 but shot back up to 29.48 as of Friday. CBJ announced three new coronavirus cases Friday, and no COVID-19 hospitalizations.

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

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