Updated: 8 hours ago Published: 15 hours ago
Alaska reported four more COVID-19 deaths on Friday, just over 800 new cases of the virus and another day of high hospitalizations.
The deaths involved two Anchorage men in their 50s and 70s, along with a Nome man in his 60s and a Soldotna man in his 80s or older.
The transmission of the virus appears to have plateaued somewhat over the past six to eight weeks, but the number of cases, hospitalizations and deaths across the country has remained stubbornly elevated, although cases around the country have begun to decline.
Alaska’s seven-day incidence remains the highest among U.S. states, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
On Friday, at least 220 people were admitted with COVID-19. In facilities, hundreds of state-contracted health workers from other countries have helped ease some of the burden on Alaska’s hospitals. But consistently high numbers of COVID-19 patients still mean strained resources, long waiting times in the emergency room and an exhausted workforce.
[Prominent COVID-19 vaccine skeptics to meet in Anchorage this week as Alaska’s case rates top the nation]
The Food and Drug Administration on Friday approved low doses of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine for children aged 5 to 11 years for emergency use – though Alaska vaccine providers and pediatricians will still have to wait to start administering shots until at least next week . This is when recommendations from the Federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are expected.
Approximately 65% of Alaska residents aged 12 years and older have received their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, while 60% are considered fully vaccinated.
Since the start of the pandemic, 699 Alaska residents and 26 non-residents have died from the virus.
[COVID-19 vaccines for younger children are expected next month. Here’s what that might look like in Alaska.].
About 9.17% of COVID-19 tests gave positive results based on a seven-day rolling average on Friday.
[Correction: This story has been updated to remove a reference to FDA approval of low doses of Pfizer’s vaccine for children ages 5-11; the FDA has granted emergency use authorization, not full approval.]