There were 11 more COVID-19 deaths in Alaska announced Tuesday, according to the state Department of Health and Social Services.
They were six Anchorage residents, two Fairbanks men and two people from North Pole. Another nonresident was diagnosed and died in Fairbanks.
Monday’s new COVID deaths have contributed to the 688 total in the state and over 739,000 nationwide. The number of people who have died of COVID in the United States now exceeds the entire population of the state of Alaska, which was 733,391 according to the 2020 census.
The state also announced 753 positive COVID cases Tuesday as Alaska remained at a high alert level — with an estimated seven-day rolling average of 693.4 cases per 100,000 people.
The threshold for high alert level is 100 or more cases per 100,000 people. The state has surpassed that metric more than six times over.
Monday’s new case count included 19 in Soldotna, 16 in Kenai, 13 in Homer, six in Anchor Point, four in Sterling, and one each in the Kenai Peninsula Borough South, Nikiski and Seward.
Statewide there were 244 COVID-related hospitalizations as of Tuesday, with 37 COVID patients on ventilators.
At Central Peninsula Hospital there were 29 COVID patients on Tuesday morning — 25 of them unvaccinated — with five in the intensive care unit and four on ventilators. The hospital as a whole was operating at 131% capacity with 64 patients total. The facility only has 49 regularly-licensed beds.
On Monday, CPH broke its record for the most COVID inpatients in a single day at 30 total.
Health officials widely agree that choosing to get vaccinated against COVID is the single best way to prevent serious illness, hospitalization and death from the virus.
The Food and Drug Administration has approved the antiviral drug Veklury (remdesivir) as a COVID treatment for adults and some children. Additionally, the FDA has issued an emergency use authorization for monoclonal antibody intravenous infusions for adults and most children 12 and older.
The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, now marketed as Comirnaty, received full approval by the Food and Drug Administration for anyone 16 and older in August. Pfizer is still available via emergency use authorization in accordance to FDA guidelines for kids 12 to 15 years old.
The Moderna and Johnson & Johnson/Janssen shots are FDA approved for emergency use for anyone 18 and older.
The FDA also approved a third dose of both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines for emergency use in immunocompromised people in August.
Additionally, in September the FDA approved a booster dose for the Pfizer shot. They are available for anyone 65 years or older, anyone 18 and older living in long-term care facilities, anyone 18 and older with underlying health conditions and anyone 18 and older working in high-risk settings.
Primary care providers can determine eligibility for an initial vaccine series, as well as immunocompromised third shots and booster doses.
Across the state, 60% of everyone 12 and up was fully vaccinated against COVID as of Tuesday. Another 64.8% had received at least one shot.
The Kenai Peninsula Borough’s vaccination rate continues to lag behind many other regions.
As of Tuesday, 50.2% of people 12 and older were fully vaccinated and another 54% had received at least one dose. The only census area to have a lower vaccination rate was the Matanuska-Susitna region on Wednesday, at 43.2%.
Since some Alaskans have received booster doses, the DHSS issued a disclaimer that vaccine rate data may be an overestimation.