COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)

COVID-19: 2nd week of statewide case increase; hospitalizations drop

In the Gulf Coast region one patient was reported hospitalized with COVID-19

Another jump in resident cases of COVID-19 was reported by the State Department of Health this week, at 650. This is the highest number of weekly cases reported since Sept. 28.

A decrease in COVID-19 hospitalizations was also reported, with 33 reported Tuesday, compared to 34 last week. Three patients are on ventilators, up from two last week.

In the Gulf Coast region, which includes the Kenai Peninsula Borough, one patient was reported hospitalized with COVID-19. Last week, four local hospitalizations were reported.

The state reported no 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. The last update was four weeks ago, when 19 deaths were confirmed. To date, there have been 1,418 deaths statewide from COVID-19 and 120 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 the virus’s spread than case counts.

For the period of Jan. 8 to Jan. 14, 650 new resident COVID-19 cases were reported. Case counts are up from last week, when officials reported 472 new resident cases for the period of Jan. 1 to Jan. 7.

This is the second consecutive week of a significant increase in the number of cases statewide, and the second consecutive week the borough has seen a small decrease. For the most recent week, 22 cases were reported in the Kenai Peninsula Borough. This is down from 23 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, 57.2% of Alaskans have completed a primary series of the COVID-19 vaccine. Only 11.3% are up to date on their vaccine and have received the bivalent booster. In the Kenai Peninsula Borough, 10.5% are up to date on their vaccine. In the borough, 48.8% — 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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