Alaska on Thursday reported 842 new cases and five more deaths tied to the virus, according to state data.

Alaska’s case rate is still the highest in the nation. But after nearly three months of increasing COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations that have pushed hospitals to a crisis point, Alaska’s chief medical officer, Dr. Anne Zink, said that she’s “cautiously optimistic” that cases and hospitalizations have finally begun declining around the state.

“We are starting to see a bit of a decrease” in cases, Zink said during a call with reporters Thursday, pointing to data trends that showed a 32% decrease in newly reported cases over the last week compared to the week before.

Still, the state’s test positivity rate remains high — nearly 1 in 10 tests over the last week have…