COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)

COVID-19 cases continue to spike

Cases rise in Kenai Peninsula Borough for 3rd straight week

According to the Alaska COVID-19 Data Hub, updated Tuesday, 33 patients are hospitalized with COVID-19, with one on a ventilator. Statewide hospitalizations are up from last week, when the Department of Health reported that 32 patients were hospitalized.

According to state data, as of Tuesday, six patients were hospitalized in the Gulf Coast region, which includes the Kenai Peninsula, Kodiak and the Chugach census area. This is a down from last week, when nine hospitalizations were reported in the area. One of those patients is the one patient in the state reported to be on a ventilator.

The state reported no new resident deaths from COVID-19 this week. Deaths are reported in batches, as they are confirmed by the state. This is the longest stretch without an update to the count of resident deaths since the state shifted to the batch model in early August.

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

For the period of Nov. 27 to Dec. 3, 422 new resident COVID-19 cases were reported. Case counts are up from last week, when officials reported 414 new resident cases for the period of Nov. 20 to Nov. 26.

For the most recent week, 34 cases were reported in the Kenai Peninsula Borough. This is up from 29 last week. Case counts have risen in the borough for three consecutive weeks.

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 everyone 5 and up 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 as well as the BA.4 and BA.5 subvariants of omicron. State health officials say that BA.5 is being detected in the majority of COVID-19 cases in Alaska.

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 Wednesday, 57.1% of Alaskans have completed a primary series of the COVID-19 vaccine. Only 9.8% are up to date on their vaccine and have received the bivalent booster. In the Kenai Peninsula Borough, only 6.8% are up to date on their vaccine. In the borough, 48.9% — 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.

A map of vaccine providers can be found on DOH’s COVID-19 vaccine website at covidvax.alaska.gov.

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

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