COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)

COVID-19: Hospitalizations rise for 3 consecutive weeks

For the period of Nov. 13 to Nov. 19, 434 new resident COVID-19 cases were reported

According to the Alaska COVID-19 Data Hub, updated Tuesday, 37 patients are hospitalized with COVID-19. No patients were reported to be on a ventilator. Hospitalizations are up from last week, when DOH reported that 29 patients were hospitalized. At that time, four patients were on ventilators. This is the third straight week of increasing hospitalizations statewide.

According to state data, as of Tuesday, two patients were hospitalized in the Gulf Coast region, which includes the Kenai Peninsula, Kodiak and the Chugach census area. This is up from last week, when one hospitalization was reported in the area. Hospitalizations in the Gulf Coast have remained between one and four since August.

The state reported no new resident deaths from COVID-19 this week. Deaths are reported in batches, as they are confirmed by the state. Since Aug. 24, these updates have come every three weeks. The state no longer specifies a time frame during which those deaths occurred, and they are not necessarily recent. The last update came last week, when 23 deaths were reported for a total of 1,399.

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. 13 to Nov. 19, 434 new resident COVID-19 cases were reported. Case counts are up from last week, when officials reported 383 new resident cases for the period of Nov. 6 to Nov. 12.

For the most recent week, 28 cases were reported in the Kenai Peninsula Borough. This is up from 25 last week.

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 8.9% 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.

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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