COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)

COVID-19: 13 new deaths confirmed, cases and hospitalizations up statewide

Hospitalizations and statewide reported cases of COVID-19 are both up this week, according to the State Department of Health. Cases were reported down in the Kenai Peninsula Borough.

According to state data updated Tuesday, 44 people are hospitalized with COVID-19 in Alaska. This is up from last week’s reported total of 35 patients who were reportedly hospitalized.

Of the patients hospitalized this week, none are on ventilators, and three are located in the Gulf Coast region, which includes the Kenai Peninsula Borough. Last week, the local region reported one hospitalization. This is the third consecutive week without any patients reported to be on a ventilator.

The state reported 13 new resident deaths from COVID-19 this week. Deaths are reported in batches, as they are confirmed by the state. No information is provided about when these deaths occurred. None of these deaths were in the Kenai Peninsula Borough. To date, there have been 1,449 deaths statewide from COVID-19 and 124 in the borough.

Due to the widespread availability of at-home COVID testing, officials say hospitalization and recent death data are more effective indicators of virus spread than case counts.

For the period of Feb. 12 to Feb. 18, 771 new resident COVID-19 cases were reported. Case counts are up from last week, when officials reported 677 new resident cases for the period of Feb. 5 to Feb. 11.

For the most recent week, 39 cases were reported in the Kenai Peninsula Borough. This is down from 54 last week.

Officials recommend all eligible Alaskans be up to date on their COVID vaccines to minimize the infection’s impact on communities. At this point, anyone 6 months and older is eligible for a primary vaccination series and can receive a booster.

An updated bivalent COVID-19 booster vaccine is available in Alaska. These are designed to tackle both the original COVID-19 strain and the BA.4 and BA.5 subvariants of Omicron.

This new booster is available to eligible individuals at least two months after their last shot, whether that was a booster dose or their primary vaccine series.

Boosters are recommended whether or not a person has already contracted the virus.

​​As of Tuesday, 57.3% of Alaskans have completed a primary series of the COVID-19 vaccine. Only 12% are up to date on their vaccine and have received the bivalent booster. In the Kenai Peninsula Borough, 10.9% are up to date on their vaccine. In the borough, 48.7% — nearly half of all individuals — have not received even a single dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.

For more information on vaccine eligibility, visit https://dhss.alaska.gov/dph/epi/id/pages/covid-19/vaccineinfo.aspx.

To find a COVID-19 or Influenza vaccine provider, visit vaccines.gov.

Reach reporter Jake Dye at jacob.dye@peninsulaclarion.com.

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