State reports 6 new coronavirus deaths

State reports 6 new coronavirus deaths

State’s deadliest day comes amid unusual reporting.

  • By Ben Hohenstatt Juneau Empire
  • Friday, September 25, 2020 6:26pm
  • NewsCoronavirus

This is story has been updated to incorporate new information.

The state reported on Friday its largest single-day increase in COVID-19-related deaths.

Six deaths were tallied by Alaska Department of Health and Social Services, which bring the state’s total to 52.

While the deaths are recently reported, most of them are not recent, according to the state.

One of the deaths, an Anchorage man in his 60s, was recent. Five of the deaths were not recent and were coded as COVID-19 deaths by the Centers for Disease Control’s National Center for Health Statistics, according to the state.

Four of these five people died in the state.

They include an Anchorage man in his 60s who died in July, a Fairbanks man in his 60s who died in August, an Anchorage man in his 50s who died in August and a Yukon-Koyukuk Census Area man in his 70s who died in August. One, a Soldotna man in his 70s, died out of state, but his place of residence was listed as Soldotna, so under CDC guidelines he counts as an Alaska death.

Previous deaths, including Alaska’s first death connected to COVID-19, were counted under similar circumstances. In one case, an out-of-state death was later removed from Juneau and the state’s tally after the deceased’s state of residence was corrected by a surviving family member.

[Woman says Juneau COVID-19 death was incorrectly counted]

The state health department said in a news release there are many reasons a death might not get reported to the department by health care facilities.

Some patients may remain hospitalized for a long time and have a complex death process, others may be discharged and die at home and others may be visiting or living in another state but still have Alaska listed as their primary residence, according to the department.

In addition to the deaths, it was a relatively heavy day for new cases as the state reported 128 people —127 residents and one nonresident —had tested positive for COVID-19.

The new cases were spread among 17 communities with over half —68 —of the cases reported in Anchorage.

City and Borough of Juneau Emergency Operations Center reported on Friday seven new COVID-19 cases for the capital city.

Public Health is attributes five of the cases to secondary transmission, according to the city, and two cases are under investigation. Four of the secondary cases are linked to an August social gathering, bringing that cluster total to 45 so far. Of the three cases reported by the city Thursday, Public Health attributes two to community spread and one to secondary transmission.

Cumulatively, Juneau has had 289 residents test positive for COVID-19 since March and 98 nonresidents, according to city data. There are 30 active cases in Juneau and 356 people have recovered.

All people with known active cases of COVID-19 are isolating, according to the city. There are currently five people with COVID-19 hospitalized at Bartlett Regional Hospital.

Statewide, there have now been 7,254 total resident cases and 948 nonresident cases. So far, 283 people have been hospitalized with COVID-19 in Alaska and 2,778 people have recovered.

• Contact Ben Hohenstatt at (907)308-4895 or bhohenstatt@juneauempire.com. Follow him on Twitter at @BenHohenstatt

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