ANCHORAGE, Alaska — The Municipality of Anchorage reported 70 new cases of the coronavirus each day last week compared to a daily average of 48 new confirmed cases the previous week.
Anchorage officials on Friday expressed concern regarding the spread of the virus in the fall and winter. Their concerns include intensive care unit staffing, cases linked with an assisted living facility and a spike in new cases over the past week, the Anchorage Daily News reported.
“We need to do more in this community to make sure that we can be even safer than we have been,” Mayor Ethan Berkowitz said. “We are teetering right now on an edge.”
The city could run out of ICU beds as early this month or November, said Janet Johnston, epidemiologist at the Anchorage Health Department.
“Hospitals continue to report that they’re tight on staffed ICU beds and they’re looking into staffing plans to increase the number of available beds,” Johnston said.
Johnston said she thought that as restrictions throughout the state relax, people have become less mindful of the risks of the pandemic.
“People are really feeling like it’s not as big a challenge as it was previously — which, from my perspective, I find very frustrating because we have so many more cases than we had last March," Johnston said.
The state reported 132 new confirmed cases on Friday from the coronavirus, the most recent data available, according to the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services. There have been a total of 8,074 confirmed cases and 57 coronavirus deaths in the state since the pandemic began.
The number of infections is thought to be far higher because many people have not been tested, and studies suggest people can be infected with the virus without feeling sick.
For most people, the new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some — especially older adults and people with existing health problems — it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia, and death.
The Associated Press