This transmission electron microscope image shows SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, isolated from a patient in the U.S. Virus particles are shown emerging from the surface of cells cultured in the lab. The spikes on the outer edge of the virus particles give coronaviruses their name, crown-like. (Courtesy National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases)

Three deaths linked to COVID-19 were reported by Ketchikan-based state public health officials on the community’s dashboard Thursday. No other information about the deceased was provided, and it was not immediately clear when the deaths occurred. That brings the state’s tally of COVID-19-related deaths in Ketchikan to six.

COVID-19 cases are rising rapidly in Ketchikan. A state health department report shows that as of mid-July, a large majority of COVID-19 cases in Alaska are linked to the delta variant.

As of 5 p.m. Thursday, Ketchikan public health officials reported 23 new cases on the community’s virus dashboard.

Three people are currently hospitalized in the COVID-19 unit at PeaceHealth Ketchikan Medical Center, according to the dashboard, and a total of 108 cases are active.

In the past seven days, there have been 83 new cases. Of those, 30 are close contacts with known positive individuals, 25 are linked to congregate facilities where people live and work in close proximity, eight are classified as community spread, two are travel-related and one was unresponsive to contact tracers and therefore the source is unknown. Another 17 cases remain under investigation.

Of the past week’s 83 cases, 30 individuals were not vaccinated but eligible for vaccination, 28 were fully vaccinated, five were not eligible for vaccination, and the vaccination status of 19 was unknown.

Ketchikan’s COVID-19 dashboard is available at the borough’s website,

Prince of Wales Island

Officials reported one new case in a Craig resident on Thursday. The source of the infection is under investigation. Craig Public Health says 29 cases are active on Prince of Wales Island. This information is available at the Craig Public Health COVID-19 hotline at 1-888-894-1321.