Juneau, Alaska (KINY) - The Alaska Department of Health and Social Services reported 526 new cases of COVID-19 on Sunday.
Officials said the increase is due to widespread community transmission, increased testing in many communities and from the division of public health trying to enter backlogged case data into the system.
The DOH has created a new team tasked with regional community engagement and support.
"We're doing all we can, with the full support of our governor, to respond vigorously to this increase in cases," said DHSS Commissioner Adam Crum. "While DHSS provides support to Alaska's communities, we're also asking all Alaskans to step up their COVID prevention efforts to help flatten the curve again."
The vast majority of the cases are of patients under 60.
Crum said the new cases increases the likelihood that vulnerable populations in the state will be infected.
"This won't last forever, but right now we are asking all Alaskans to come together and slow this community spread and protect the most vulnerable among us."
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recently sent 50 new Abbott ID rapid testing machines to Alaska that will be distributed across the state. These rapid tests will be used for emerging case clusters and to protect congregate settings such as homeless shelters, long-term care facilities, correctional facilities, schools and workplaces.