A Sitkan administers a COVID-19 test at SEARHC’s drive-thru testing. COVID-19 testing is available daily on the Mt. Edgecumbe Medical Center campus. (KCAW/Berett Wilber)

Forty-two new coronavirus cases were reported from Friday to Sunday, and four more hospitalizations were reported. That’s according to information on the city’s COVID dashboard. 

Thirty-eight of the cases are Sitka residents. The patients range in age from several  children under 10 to patients in their 80s. Ten of the new patients are 19 or younger.

As of Sunday afternoon, the “rolling case rate” or the average number of cases per day had dipped slightly from 20 to 18. While it’s too early to say whether the current outbreak has plateaued, the steady increase in daily cases in July has leveled off for the moment — a good thing, since beds are filling at the Mt. Edgecumbe Medical Center.

Dr. Elliot Bruhl reported to the Sitka Unified Command on Wednesday (7-28-21):

“We were up to nine in-patients with COVID this last week. Consistent with trends up in Anchorage and everywhere else, it’s overall a younger group,” he said. “Younger being not pediatrics, but people in their thirties and forties that are in the hospital.”

Mt. Edgecumbe Medical Center has a capacity of 25 acute care beds.

Bruhl said that only one patient has been medevaced so far, on July 19, and the individual subsequently died. The problem now is that the same spike occurring in Sitka is occurring throughout the state, and if patients need to be moved, they may be getting a trip south.

“We’ve been following, several times a day, what the availability of transfer opportunities is into Seattle hospital locations because of the shortage of ICU beds in Anchorage,” said Bruhl.

 The number of active cases in Sitka dropped to 170 on Sunday. Since the start of the pandemic, Sitka has reported 857 coronavirus cases, 36 hospitalizations, and two deaths.