COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)

COVID-19: Only 7% of borough residents have new booster

The state reported no new resident deaths from COVID-19 this week

According to the Alaska COVID-19 Data Hub, updated Tuesday, 21 patients are hospitalized with COVID-19. No patients are on a ventilator. Hospitalizations are up from last week, when DOH reported that 19 patients were hospitalized.

According to state data, as of Tuesday, three 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 two hospitalizations were reported in the area.

The state reported no new resident deaths from COVID-19 this week. Deaths are reported in batches, as they are confirmed by the state. The state reported 20 deaths two weeks ago. The state did not specify a time frame during which those deaths occured, and they are not necessarily recent.

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.

As of Nov. 8, the COVID-19 Data Hub will be updated on Tuesdays instead of Wednesdays, and data will no longer be as recent. Instead of numbers as of the day prior to the update, the new Tuesday updates will include data as of the Saturday prior.

For the period of Oct. 30 to Nov. 5, 355 new resident COVID-19 cases were reported. Case counts are down from last week, when officials reported 379 new resident cases for the period of Oct. 26 to Nov. 1. Nonresident cases are no longer reported on the COVID-19 Dashboard.

For the most recent week, 38 cases were reported in the Kenai Peninsula Borough. This is down from 42 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. At an October public health ECHO, State Epidemiologist Dr. Joe McLaughlin said that BA.5 is being detected in 96.7% of tested 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% of Alaskans have completed a primary series of COVID-19 vaccine. Only 7.5% 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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