A transmission electron micrograph of the virus that causes COVID-19. (Courtesy National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases)

Another Ketchikan resident has died of COVID-19, according to the state health department. State health officials report an unnamed man in his 70s passed away in December.

It’s the 21st recorded death in Ketchikan attributed to COVID-19. Ketchikan’s COVID-19 death toll now exceeds that of Juneau, a city with more than twice as many people. State data shows 20 Juneau residents have died of COVID-19

In Ketchikan, there have been 1.5 COVID-19 deaths per 1,000 people since the pandemic began. The rate is less than half that in Juneau: 0.62 deaths per 1,000. Sitka’s rate is 0.71 COVID-19 deaths per 1,000 people. That’s according to state health department COVID-19 data and 2020 Census population figures.

All but two of Ketchikan’s COVID-19 deaths have occurred since August 2021.

Though the death is shown on the state’s dashboard to have occurred in December, it was first reported on Wednesday. COVID-19 deaths often take weeks or months to be reported because of the lengthy process of death certificate review.

COVID-19 cases in Ketchikan have fallen sharply in recent weeks after rising to new highs in January.

State health officials reported 29 new cases of COVID-19 in their latest update on Wednesday, including data for the past five days. Some 43 cases have been reported in the past week. That’s down from 351 cases reported the week of Jan. 25 at the height of the omicron surge.

Two people are reported to be hospitalized with COVID-19 at Ketchikan’s 25-bed hospital.

Ketchikan’s state-issued COVID-19 alert level remains “high,” the maximum level.