A graph by the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services created on its Coronavirus Datahub on Sunday, May 31, 2020, shows the number of positive COVID-19 cases acquired by day since the first cases were recorded in March. The increase of 27 cases on May 31 marks the largest single jump in one day in Alaska. (Graphic courtesy of Alaska Department of Health and Social Services)

A graph by the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services created on its Coronavirus Datahub on Sunday, May 31, 2020, shows the number of positive COVID-19 cases acquired by day since the first cases were recorded in March. The increase of 27 cases on May 31 marks the largest single jump in one day in Alaska. (Graphic courtesy of Alaska Department of Health and Social Services)

Alaska sees biggest jump in COVID-19 cases yet

Kenai, Homer, Soldotna, Kenai Peninsula Borough and Anchor Point all reported cases.

With 27 new cases, Alaska on Sunday saw its biggest increase in positive cases of COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic in March. According to the latest report on May 31, the state saw 12 cases in Anchorage, four in Wasilla, three in Kenai, three in Eagle River, two in Homer, one in Soldotna, one in the Kenai Peninsula Borough and one in Anchor Point.

Sunday’s report reflects data from midnight until 11:59 p.m. on May 30 that posted at noon today on the Alaska Coronavirus Response Hub.

At a press conference on Sunday with Alaska Chief Medical Officer Dr. Anne Zink and Anchorage health officials, Gov. Mike Dunleavy said that while he is concerned about the higher numbers, an increase was not unexpected. Alaska’s biggest concern going into the pandemic was that COVID-19 cases would overwhelm the state’s health capacity. That hasn’t happened, he said.

“We are confident we have the ability to manage (the pandemic),” Dunleavy said. “… We will see numbers again. … We’re watching it. We’re projecting it out. As of today we feel pretty good where were going in the state of Alaska.”

Since Thursday, Homer, Anchor Point and the lower Kenai Peninsula has seen 11 more cases. At the press conference, when asked about that increase, Zink said some of the new cases appear to be related to celebrations among groups of people. Some of the peninsula cases also might be related to some of the new Anchorage cases, she said.

“There’s clearly more cases happening down on the Kenai Peninsula, particularly the South Kenai Peninsula,” Zink said, “… It appears to be that a series of these — maybe not all, but quite a few of them — appear to be related to a couple of celebrations that took place among people who knew each other and spread that among other people who knew each other.”

Of the new Alaska cases, 14 are male and 13 are female. Four are aged of 10-19; five aged 20-29; three are aged 30-39; three are aged 40-49; three are aged 50-59; four are aged 60-69; two are aged 70-79; and three are aged 80 or older.

There have been a total of 47 hospitalizations and 10 deaths with no new hospitalizations or deaths reported yesterday. Recovered cases now total 368, with no new recovered cases recorded yesterday. A total of 53,063 tests have been conducted.

In a press release, DHSS said that one new nonresident case was identified in a seafood industry worker in the Dillingham Census Area. One Homer case reported for May 29 now has been determined to be in a visitor, not a resident of Alaska, so it has been subtracted from the total Alaska case count and added to the nonresident case total. Including the May 30 cases, this brings the total Alaska case count to 460 and the total nonresident cases to 21.

At the press conference, Anchorage Health Department Director Natasha Pineda said of the 15 new Anchorage cases, 10 were related to a Providence Medical Center transitional care unit. Citing patient confidentiality, Providence Chief Medical Officer Dr. Michael Bernstein said he could not say how many were residents and how many were staff, but that most of them were residents. Pineda said testing is being done for both staff and residents.

In Homer, the positive case count for tests done at South Peninsula Hospital and at its Homer Spit testing site increased to 21, or seven more than Saturday’s report. Hospital Public Information Officer Derotha Ferraro wrote that she did not have a breakout of where the tests had been done. There were no new hospitalizations.

The number of overall tests done through South Peninsula Hospital went up by 100, from 1,217 to 1,317. There are 1,153 negative tests and 143 pending.

Reach Michael Armstrong at marmstrong@homernews.com.

More in News

A DNR map of navigable and non-navigable waters are seen on the Kenai Peninsula. (Screenshot)
State unveils maps in effort to ‘unlock’ Alaska waters

The maps are part of an initiative to assert control of state lands.

On Monday, the final day of the May long weekend, Harri Herter from Kamloops takes turns and gives friends thrilling jetski rides on little Shuswap Lake. - Image credit: Rick Koch photo.
Lawsuit challenges Jet Ski use in bay

Coalition of environmental groups says Fish and Game’s process to rescind JetSki ban was illegal

Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy speaks during a news conference on Wednesday, May 12, 2021, in Juneau, Alaska, with a number of state legislators around him. Dunleavy discussed a proposed constitutional amendment dealing with the Alaska Permanent Fund and the Permanent Fund dividend. (AP Photo/Becky Bohrer)
Dunleavy proposes new changes to Permanent Fund

The changes are an amendment to updates he proposed earlier this year.

A vial of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine is seen at Central Emergency Services Station 1 on Friday, Dec. 18, 2020, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Youth 12-15 years old can now get vaccinated

Borough emergency management is working to assist the Pfizer vaccine rollout efforts to the new eligible population.

Megan Pike, Kenai Watershed Forum’s education specialist and Adopt-A-Stream program coordinator, wades into Soldotna Creek to dig up creek bed samples for a group of Connections Homeschool students to parse through for macroinvertebrate sampling, on Thursday, Nov. 7, 2019, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Photo by Victoria Petersen/Peninsula Clarion)
Summer camp registrations open at Kenai Watershed Forum

The forum canceled its summer events last year because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The entrance to the Kenai Courthouse in Kenai, Alaska, photographed on Feb. 26, 2019. (Peninsula Clarion file)
Identity of Alaska Court System hacker still unknown

The system was able to restore email access Tuesday.

U.S. Census Bureau Director Steven Dillingham addresses state and Alaska Native leaders Friday, Jan. 17, 2020, in Anchorage, Alaska. (AP Photo/Mark Thiessen)
State redistricting may take longer this year

State legislative districts are redrawn by a board of five people following the decennial census.

The badge for the Kenai Police Department
Man arrested in break-in at Kenai Central High School

The man, 36-year-old Christopher D. Stroh, allegedly stole miscellaneous items from the school on Sunday.

Most Read