Case trends and predictions

  • Alaska saw a sharp acceleration in new cases in the last week. The state had previously seen a steady rise over the preceding six weeks, but this last week saw substantial increases in case rates in nearly every region, with the largest increases in cases in Anchorage and Fairbanks. 
  • The daily state case rate as of October 3 data is 16.3, up from 11.7 on September 26th. This number is cases per 100,000 people averaged over the last 14 days. The state alert level is high. 
  • Compared to other states’ case rates, Alaska’s average case rate per capita over the last 7 days (20.1 average daily cases over the last week per 100,000) has jumped from #24 up to tying for #13 with Tennessee, just below Wyoming (21.6) and worse off than Alabama and Kansas, both at 19.6. between Nevada (13.4) and Indiana (12.7). If Anchorage were its own state, its 7-day case rate (18.4) would put it at rank #6, between Utah and Idaho, and if Fairbanks were a state, its 7-day rate of 33.6 would make it #5 in the nation, just behind Montana. The North Slope Borough would be #4 with a 7-day rate of 34.9, while the Northwest Arctic Borough’s 7-day case rate of 63.7 puts it at a higher average case rate this week than any state average in the US. Nationally, cases have been rising since mid-September, particularly in the Midwest but increases have been seen in most states this week. 24 states currently have 7-day average case rates over 15 per 100,000.
  • The reproductive number, a measure of contagion, is currently estimated to be approximately 1.14, an increase from 1.03 one week ago. A reproductive number of 1 means that each person who is diagnosed with COVID-19 gives it on average to one other person. A reproductive number of more than 1 means that the epidemic is growing, and the goal is to have enough people wear masks, stay at least 6 feet from others, and stay home and get tested when they are sick that Alaska’s reproductive number decreases to well below 1. Our reproductive number was below 1 as recently as late August.
  • An updated model epidemic curve predicts Alaska’s cases will continue to accelerate over the next week. One week ago, cases were now expected to double every 105 days, with a daily projected growth rate of 0.66%. This projection has worsened, with cases now expected to double around every 22 days, with a daily projected growth rate of around 3%.
  • Nonresident cases, which peaked in late July, decreased over August and continue to downtrend.
  • Alaska continues to have the fewest COVID-19 related deaths per capita of any US state, but this week passed Wyoming in total number of deaths. 

What Alaskans should do 

  • Anyone with even one new symptom of COVID-19 (fever, chills, cough, shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle aches, body aches, headache, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion, runny nose, nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea), even if it is very mild, should get tested for COVID-19 right away. Tests are most accurate in the first few days of symptoms, and if the test is positive, getting tested right away helps contact tracers move as quickly as possible. 
  • Alaskans can help contact tracers work to slow the spread of COVID-19 by answering the phone promptly if contacted and providing accurate information.
  • Alaskans should avoid gatherings, wear masks when around any non-household member, keep six feet of distance from anyone not in their household and wash hands frequently to slow community transmission of COVID-19.

 Further information