Another day, another set of record-breaking COVID-19 numbers in the state and the Mat-Su Borough.
The Alaska Department of Health and Social Services reported 526 new COVID-19 cases in Alaska Sunday, including 75 in the Mat-Su Borough. Both are single-day highs and both shatter the previous records set just a day ago. A total of 353 cases were reported Saturday with 34 in the borough. The state has reported at least 100 new coronavirus cases per day for more than a month, and at least 200 for 10 straight days.
“We’re doing all we can, with the full support of our governor, to respond vigorously to this increase in cases,” DHSS Commissioner Adam Crum said in a press release. “While DHSS provides support to Alaska’s communities, we’re also asking all Alaskans to step up their COVID prevention efforts to help flatten the curve again. While the vast majority of today’s cases are younger than age 60, the saturation of the virus in the community increases the likelihood that our vulnerable populations such as older Alaskans or others at risk of severe illness will be infected, and these are the groups we are especially trying to protect. This won’t last forever, but right now we are asking all Alaskans to come together and slow this community spread and protect the most vulnerable among us.”
Just about every region in Alaska is at the state’s high alert level, meaning there’s an average daily case rate of more than 10 per 100,000 residents during the past 14 days. There have been 313 new cases reported in the borough in the last 14 days, with an average of about 22 per day.
The borough also eclipsed the 1,000-case mark with Sunday’s new cases, and now has a cumulative total of 1,064. That amount includes 655 in Wasilla, 317 in Palmer, 28 in Willow, 25 in Big Lake, 16 in Houston, seven in Sutton-Alpine, two in Meadow Lakes and one in Knik-Fairview. There are also 13 cases listed in the other category.
Of the borough’s total just less than half, 512, are considered active. There have been 25 hospitalizations and two deaths among Valley residents.
Big Lake Elementary, Colony High, Mat-Su Career and Technical High, Mat-Su Central, Palmer Junior Middle, Shaw Elementary, Wasilla High and Wasilla Middle schools are all closed to in-class learning Monday and Tuesday, according to the Mat-Su Borough School District. Colony High, Mat-Su Career Tech, Mat-Su Central and Wasilla High will remain closed through Friday. Positive cases have been reported at five different schools — Big Lake Elementary, Burchell High, Machetanz Elementary, Shaw Elementary and Wasilla Middle — since Oct. 23. Burchell and Shaw will both be open Monday.
There are currently 23 Valley schools listed as medium risk by the district, which is described as low to moderate level of community transmission. The district defines community as a single school.
There have been a total of 13,012 total cases reported in the state, and 6,644 are still considered active.
A handful of local restaurants have self-reported COVID-19 exposure, and closed temporarily. The Wasilla Sonic Drive-In posted a statement on social media Friday morning announcing that the restaurant will be temporarily closed due to a positive COVID-19 case. Chepos and The Grape Tap and Wasilla also posted about temporary closures due to COVID-19 exposure on social media. The Grape Tap will reopen Oct. 28 according to its Facebook page.
The Mat-Su Borough building, an early voting site, was also closed Friday. Borough officials said a person who had voted there on Thursday had tested positive.
Contact Frontiersman managing editor Jeremiah Bartz at email@example.com.