The State of Alaska released data today indicating an additional positive test for coronavirus during the reporting period ending at midnight on Friday, bringing the total number of active cases to nine. Four active cases are with individuals that claim Delta Junction as their residency and five are listed as nonresidents.
The total number of cases reported for Delta Junction since the pandemic began is seven residents and 12 nonresidents. All but the active cases have recovered, and no one is shown to have been hospitalized. Most of the nonresident cases have been associated with the Pogo Mine and have not physically been in Delta Junction. Upon discovery of the positive cases at the mine, Pogo has transported the individuals to Fairbanks for isolation.
It is unclear if any of the nonresident cases involve individuals physically located in Delta Junction. The Department of Health and Social Services says it does not have that information available.
The state classifies the resident cases as one case related to travel, which was the first case reported in April; three are listed as secondary cases, meaning the transmission was not related to travel out of state. Three are listed as under investigation, meaning the state has not been able to determine the source of transmission of the virus.
All eight of the nonresident cases are listed as secondary transmission.
There are some questions about the cases in Delta Junction and the reporting mechanism used by the state. Delta Wind spoke with one individual who tested positive during a rapid test performed locally and the follow-up analysis of the sample sent to the state was negative. Based upon data that has been released, the individual is still shown on the state data tables as an active case. The State Department of Health and Social Services has not responded to questions about the discrepancy.
According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) website, there are two types of tests, molecular and antigen tests. Both can be in the form of a rapid test where results are known shortly after the test and laboratory analysis tests where the sample is sent to a lab for analysis. The FDA says antigen tests tend to have a higher rate of false negatives, meaning they are more likely to miss an active infection.
It is not known if the tests performed on the individual Delta Wind spoke with were antigen or molecular tests.