As Alaska’s Republican leadership continues to flout the very health measures they’ve set, Alaska today reported 194 new cases of covid-19 among Alaska residents and three among non-residents. It’s the highest single-day report since the pandemic began, marking a new uptick in cases.
Today’s new cases include 115 in Anchorage, 55 in the Fairbanks North Star Borough and eight in the Mat-Su Borough. No additional deaths were reported.
The positivity rate—the rate of positives among all tests taken—has crossed the 4% mark for the first time since the pandemic began, according to the state. The Fairbanks North Star Borough’s positivity rate sits at a staggering 10.67%–more than 1 in 10 tests are coming back positive—while Anchorage crossed the 5% mark with today’s report.
The positivity rate in the Kenai Peninsula Borough and Mat-Su Borough are also trending upwards while Juneau is the only major city where the positivity rate was trending downward. There are several outbreaks in rural Alaska villages and communities where the positivity rate is 20% or higher.
The results come after Republican legislators and officials have continued to hold high-profile in-person gatherings in Anchorage and other areas of the state. Republicans—including Alaska U.S. Sen. Dan Sullivan and Administration Commissioner Kelly Tshibaka, who’s overseen health measures in state offices—met for a packed fundraiser in Kenai on Friday, following the diagnosis of President Donald Trump.
Photos and videos of the event show almost no masks or social distancing while attendees also sang several songs (one of the nation’s worst early super-spreader events occurred at a choir practice).
“We should limit our risks,” Tshibaka told the Anchorage Daily News about the events, “but we also must learn to live with this virus until such a time as a vaccine is available. The goal has always been to flatten the curve, not to try to eliminate every case of coronavirus, which we know we cannot do unless we collapse our economy. We have done a great job of balancing that in this state. The leaders in our state have given us information and trusted us to make the best decisions to protect ourselves in any given situation.”