Alaska State Virology Laboratory technician Ben Hedges holds vials of viral transport medium that are being tested for sterility. The lab manufactures the transport medium on site for use in COVID-19 testing in Alaska. (Courtesy Photo / JR Ancheta, University of Alaska Fairbanks)

Alaska State Virology Laboratory technician Ben Hedges holds vials of viral transport medium that are being tested for sterility. The lab manufactures the transport medium on site for use in COVID-19 testing in Alaska. (Courtesy Photo / JR Ancheta, University of Alaska Fairbanks)

State reports a low number of new COVID-19 cases

Daily numbers were low, but averages remain high

The state reported an additional 34 coronavirus cases Monday, only one of which was in Juneau.

The relatively low number of new cases comes on the heels of days on which the state reported 99, 99 and 129.

There are currently 24 active COVID-19 cases in Juneau, according to city data. Three people are currently hospitalized at Bartlett Regional Hospital.

Statewide there are 34 COVID-19-positive patients hospitalized and 3,635 active cases. There have been 232 total hospitalizations, according to state data.

No new deaths were reported by the state on Sunday or Monday, but the Department of Health and Social Services reported two new deaths on Saturday. So far, 42 residents have died with COVID-19, according to state data. One of the deceased was an Eagle River man over the age of 80, according to the state. The other was a Fairbanks woman over the age of 80. Both had underlying health conditions.

The state monitors it’s average case rate as the number of positive cases per 100,000 people in a 14-day window. According to the state’s COVID-19 data hub “this estimate can be used to monitor the general trajectory of disease spread and enables comparison between areas with different population sizes.”

[Vaccine distribution plan? Health officials say Alaska already has one]

According to state data, Juneau’s average daily rate for Sunday was 6.95 cases, with that number trending upward since the beginning of the month. The state’s 14-day averages have been trending downward, ending at 9.52 state data show. Both Juneau and the state are currently in what the state considers to be an “intermediate” alert level, which is an average daily rate of 5-10 people per 100,000. An average rate of more than 10 would raise the state to a “high alert” level.

The City and Borough of Juneau has its own alert system, currently at “Level 2 Moderate.” The state’s risk monitoring system doesn’t have any regulations for the general public built into it, but CBJ’s does. Each risk level comes with its own set of regulations which automatically go into effect when the city’s case count reaches a certain number. That happened in late August when gyms, bars and restaurants were asked to limit their capacity to 50%.

Members of the city’s emergency operations center, including City Manager Rorie Watt and Deputy City Manager Mila Cosgrove, who runs the EOC, will be giving weekly updates via Zoom webinar every Tuesday at 4 p.m.

This Tuesday, Sept. 8, EOC’s planning section chief Robert Barr will give a brief update on testing and vaccines, according to CBJ’s website.

Information on joining the webinar to ask questions is available at the city’s website. The webinar will be broadcast at the same time on the city’s Facebook page.

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

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