Anchorage hospital reports first coronavirus death within Alaska

Alaska Native Medical Center announced the death Friday afternoon

The first death within the state of Alaska from COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, was reported Friday at the Alaska Native Medical Center in Anchorage, according to a press release from the hospital.

The person was reportedly seen at the hospital on March 23 for reasons unrelated to the coronavirus, but was tested for COVID-19 that day.

On March 25, the state laboratory reported that test was positive for the virus. At that time, the patient was self-isolating at home, according to the release.

That same day, March 25, the hospital’s emergency department was notified that the patient’s condition was “rapidly deteriorating,” and the patient returned to the hospital for treatment.

The patient was admitted into the hospital’s negative pressure unit, but died on Friday after being admitted.

“Our condolences go out to our patient’s family and loved ones,” ANMC said in the press release. “We also extend our appreciation to our staff who cared for this person and provided support and comfort to the family.”

Dr. Anne Zink, chief medical officer for the state, said during a Friday press conference that the person was a woman in her 60s with underlying health issues.

This is the second case of an Alaskan resident who has died from the coronavirus, and the first death to occur within the state. The first Alaskan resident to die from the virus died while in Washington and was reported on March 24.

The state also announced 16 new cases of COVID-19 on Friday, bringing the total Alaska count from 69 to 85.

According to the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services, there are now 39 cases in Anchorage (including Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson), 14 in Fairbanks, 12 in Ketchikan, six in North Pole, four in Juneau, three in Eagle River/Chugiak, two in Palmer, two in Sterling, and one case each in Soldotna and Seward. There is one case associated with a Homer resident who was tested in Anchorage and remained in Anchorage.

Reach Brian Mazurek at bmazurek@peninsulaclarion.com.

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