Dunleavy tamps down the corona panic, and hospital CEO says there is ‘plenty of bed capacity’ in Alaska



It took truth about a week to get its shoes on and correct the record on hospital capacity in Alaska, during this era of COVID-19.

Alaska State Hospital and Nursing Home Association CEO Jared Kosin today corrected a misperception that the hospitals are running out of beds. He said hospital capacity is holding up fine, even with COVID-19 patients.

“There’s been a lot of questions about ICU capacity, hospital capacity, and the health of our system,” Kosin said.

Those questions may have come after a Yukon-Kuskokwim Health Corporation medical doctor said the state is running out of hospital beds for COVID-19 cases, and that Bethel’s medical clinic had to keep a patient an extra day because there were no available beds in Alaska’s largest city.

“This was an ICU-level patient, and all the ICU beds in Anchorage were full,” said YKHC Chief of Staff Dr. Ellen Hodges, to KYUK radio. “So we’ve already reached, I think, the limits of our capacity of the healthcare of the state. So it makes some of these mitigation strategies more important.”

That is just not the case, according to what Kosin said today in a video report that was embedded in Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s video message on the virus.

Dunleavy started his report by saying that officials have learned that the virus is not as deadly as it was once believed to be. The death rate is going down, even while number of cases is going up, he said.

From June to early October, the hospitalization rate for COVID-19 patients is 2-4 percent, far less than the 10 percent it was prior to June.

“So in other words, even though our case numbers are going up, hospitalizations and the death rate are going down,” Dunleavy said. “That’s because we understand this virus more. We understand how to deal with folks who are infected.”

And the medical community has learned how to keep the virus away from those who are most vulnerable, he noted.

“I just want to make sure we understand that none of us should be terrified today. None of us should be scared today. We should be concerned, and we should make sure that we take all the precautions necessary to prevent ourselves from getting the virus,” Dunleavy said. “The chances of you going into the hospital if you get the virus is slim.”

Dunleavy acknowledged that the virus is still highly contagious and dangerous to some people, and precautions are still important.

“This virus is not the extinction event we thought it was going to be,” Dunleavy said.

Earlier today, the Municipality of Anchorage put out a Nixle alert with a completely different message, warning people that they were in grave danger of getting the virus if they gather in groups.

“Are we seeing an unusual number of ICU patients coming through the door? And the answer so far, is no,” the hospital association’s CEO Kosin said.

“This month, in October, on a per-day basis, we’re averaging about 57 patients in the ICU beds in Anchorage. Last month, the average was 54 patients. The month before that, in August, it was 53 and in July it was 56. So far, trends are consistent with ICU beds,” Kosin said.

Looking at COVID-19-positive patients who are in ICU beds, “thankfully, the trends are pretty similar.” On a per-day basis, Anchorage hospitals are averaging 9.6 patients in ICU beds in Anchorage. In September, the average was 9.1

“Are we seeing a rise in overall hospitalizations due to COVID? Again, thankfully, the answer is no,” he said. In October, the average number of COVID-19-positive patients in Anchorage hospital beds is 25. In September, the average was 29 and in August it was 28.

“The takeaway at this time is hospital capacity is holding up,” he said. “We are managing the situation. The situation has been pretty consistent for the last couple of months.”

Why the Bethel doctor would report that Anchorage beds are full is a mystery, when the state’s COVID-19 data hub shows no such thing.

Hodges had told Lower Kuskokwim School District Superintendent Kimberly Hankins about the Anchorage bed shortage and the update was reported on public broadcasting on Sept. 30.


    • What mandates? What are left that have not been removed or reduced? There are recommendations of common sense caution but it is the Anchorage mayor that is overseeing ridiculous over the top destructive mandates backed by his reign of terror and fear.

  1. Thank you Governor! Where have you been? Now that you have found your voice can we expect more of this? Thank you (although you are about five months late). Now it is time to retire Dr. Zink. Take back your state.

  2. Thanks once again for getting the real truth, complete with numbers and facts, out there for any interested person to see, Suzanne.
    It’s nice to have a voice like yours using facts to counter the irresponsible and incorrect panic porn that is constantly pushed by the lying Leftwing media.

  3. The data dashboards from the Muni (Anchorage) and State webpages have been making exactly that same statement since the beginning of this panicdemic. At no point was the hospital capacity in danger, from all patients, not just COVID infected patients. Seriously, has there ever been more than 50 infected patients in Anchorage hospitals at any one point? Right now, there are 23 infected people in Anchorage hospitals. There are currently 234 available conventional hospital beds, and 61 available ICU units. Can anyone explain to me how the hospital will get overwhelmed? (Keep in mind, there is a 97.97% negative for virus test rate.)

    It is about time that the medical professionals start actually sharing the facts.

  4. The epitome of fake news rebroadcast because it sells: “no more beds!”
    Nope. A simple call could have proven it wrong.
    Instead, the governor and Suzanne had to expose the truth to stop the spread of falsehoods like a contagious….well, you know.

  5. Where is Dunleavy hiding? It seems to me Anchorage is getting all the cases of Covid from the other boroughs and little towns where they are not having to wear masks like Anchorage does. We are being bullied by our Mayor into limiting what we do, while others do whatever they want. How about Lands End Resort having a social gathering for Republicans with a lot of people. That’s why they had it in Homer not in Anchorage. It was a well kept secret. Dunleavy has not done any of his promises when he was campaigning for governor and got elected.

    • What do Dunleavy’s promises have to do with the story? I’m sorry you have a mayor that puts power and control over common sense and freedom. Don’t blame the governor for that. Thank your fellow voters.

      • What you don’t see is these mandates are implemented 1st from the govenor then allowing the mayors to run with whatever they choose. The govenor can demand that the mayor cease and desist and yet he does not, he is guilty of civil liberty violations. The political structure starts with the govenor.

      • Dear Elizabeth,

        I want the rest of my dividend. If there was no intent to honor the dividends that were taken from us by the Walker Administration, and it was eluded that he was going to help Alaskans recover that money, then those of us that were promised that he would do something should hope he will follow through.

  6. Facts over fiction, not in the leftists playbook!
    Thank you Governor!
    Can’t wait to rid the City of Anchorage of Berkleywitz and his minions.

    • Exactly. We need to push back on the mayor and assembly each and every time they spread disinformation and fear. And if anyone has his ear please encourage the Gov to retake the top position on the podium, take control, and stop letting our junior mayor dominate the conversation. We need to shut the mayor down!

    • The problem with the Assembly and God-Emperor Berkowitz is they are working off a UAA study that is not even remotely accurate. The Muni.org website has a .pdf of it. The study shows the hospitals being overwhelmed in pretty much every scenario. (links to the studies are at the bottom of the data dashboard page. Title of the latest study is Modeling the COVID-19 Epidemic and Healthcare Capacity Demand…)

      The initial study was updated in August, but the assumptions used for the predictions have been proven to be wrong. Yet, the Assembly is still of the belief the hospitals will be overwhelmed. I am not a data analyst, but I can punch a bunch of holes through the study presentations.

      Until the Assembly and Mayor actually start asking the “experts” questions, instead of just accepting what they say without question, we are going to be stuck in these lockdowns for ever.

  7. The most important court ruling was just passed down by the Michigan State Supreme Court against Governor Whitmore against all her mask mandates and social distancing and business lock downs, ruling was 4 to 3 all her mandates are Unconstitutional and are violations against the civil liberties of the people of Michigan. This has now set presidence in the Stztes Supreme Court’s. She will be facing charges very soon her political position does not protect her. Get ready Dunleavy it’s coming for you and all the mayors. Kriner I told you on the phone we had the case for you this argument was put together by the private investigator I told you who would work for free for you and any others who want to win!!!

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