Alaska hospital exec, association CEO at odds over bed capacity

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The CEO of the Alaska State Hospital and Nursing Home Association told residents that the state isn't running out of hospital beds due to COVID-19. The comments came after a clinical executive at a hospital in Southwest Alaska raised capacity concerns. 

Jared Kosin, president and CEO of the association, told Must Read Alaska that at this point, Alaska hospitals aren't seeing an "unusual number of ICU patients." 

The state's hospital capacity is intact, he said, despite misperceptions that bed capacity is low. 

Questions about Alaska's hospital capacity arose after Ellen Hodges, MD, chief of staff at Yukon-Kuskokwim Health Corp. in Bethel, told a local radio station that capacity for COVID-19 patients was shrinking. Dr. Hodges said Bethel had to keep an ICU-level patient at its clinic due to a lack of available beds in Anchorage. 

But the state's COVID-19 data hub does not show that Anchorage beds are at full capacity, according to the report.

Alaska was among the top 11 states with the fastest COVID-19 spread as of Oct. 7. The state, which has a population of 731,545, has 1,320 confirmed cases per 100,000 population as of Oct. 7.

Gov. Mike Dunleavy told Must Read Alaska that while the number of cases in the state is increasing, hospitalizations and death rates aren't.

"That's because we understand this virus more. We understand how to deal with folks who are infected," the governor told the publication. 

Read more here.

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