Alaska sees largest single day spike in COVID-19 cases

Screenshot from the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services COVID-19 dashboard, taken on May 31, 2020, showing a spike in confirmed cases in Alaska. (Data from https://coronavirus-response-alaska-dhss.hub.arcgis.com/)

On Sunday, the state announced 27 new cases of coronavirus in Alaska. That’s the most cases in a single day since the state identified its first case in March.

According to a press release from the state’s Department of Health and Social Services, the new cases were discovered in eight communities: Twelve in Anchorage, 4 in Wasilla, 3 in Eagle River, 3 in Kenai, 2 in Homer and 1 each in Soldotna, Kenai Peninsula Borough and Anchor Point.

One new non-resident case in a seafood worker in the Dillingham area was reported.

Since March, 460 Alaska residents have tested positive for the virus and 21 nonresidents. The majority of them have recovered, 10 Alaskans have died.

The largest single reported increase in cases in the state before this was on April 6 with 22 cases.

The flood of new cases comes just as the state is preparing to further loosen restrictions on travel. On Friday, Gov. Mike Dunleavy announced a change to the state’s 14-day quarantine for people arriving from out-of-state. Instead, visitors and Alaskans returning to the state will be asked to take a test within 72 hours of boarding an Alaska-bound flight. That change is expected to go into effect June 5.

Dunleavy and Alaska Chief Medical Officer Dr. Anne Zink have credited the quarantine mandate, which dates to March 25, with helping to keep Alaska’s rate of infections among the lowest in the country.

Dunleavy, the Department of Health and Social Services and representatives from the municipality of Anchorage will hold a joint press conference late Sunday to address the new cases.

This is a breaking news story and will be updated as new information becomes available.