COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)

COVID-19: Cases and hospitalizations fall statewide; local cases spike

35 people are hospitalized with COVID-19 in Alaska

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

According to state data updated Tuesday, 35 people are hospitalized with COVID-19 in Alaska. This is a significant reduction from last week’s reported total of 61 patients who were reportedly hospitalized.

Of the patients hospitalized this week, none are on a ventilator, and only one is located in the Gulf Coast region, which includes the Kenai Peninsula Borough. Last week, the local region reported four hospitalizations.

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 three weeks ago, when 18 deaths were confirmed, including four in the Kenai Peninsula Borough. To date, there have been 1,436 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 the virus’ spread than case counts.

For the period of Jan. 29 to Feb. 4, 677 new resident COVID-19 cases were reported. Case counts are down from last week, when officials reported 696 new resident cases for the period of Jan. 22 to Jan. 28. This is the second consecutive week of declining case counts, coming after five weeks of climbing cases from Christmas through January. Case counts rose every week from Dec. 27 to Jan. 31.

For the most recent week, 54 cases were reported in the Kenai Peninsula Borough. This is up from 33 last week, and is the highest number of cases reported locally since Sept. 21.

Officials recommend all eligible Alaskans be up to date on their COVID vaccines to minimize the infection’s impact on communities. 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.

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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