COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)

COVID-19: Small increase in cases and hospitalizations

20 people are hospitalized with COVID-19 in Alaska

COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations rose slightly statewide this week, according to data updated by the Department of Health on Tuesday.

According to state data, 20 people are hospitalized with COVID-19 in Alaska. This is up from 15 last week. Statewide, no patients are on a ventilator.

In the Gulf Coast region, which includes the Kenai Peninsula Borough, one hospitalization was reported, the first in three weeks.

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 updates come roughly once a month, with the last update adding 19 deaths six weeks ago. To date, there have been 1,468 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 April 30 to May 6, 200 new resident COVID-19 cases were reported in the state. Case counts are up from last week, when officials reported 188 new resident cases for the period of April 16 to April 22.

In the Kenai Peninsula Borough, 16 cases were reported this week, up from 12 last week.

Officials recommend all eligible Alaskans be up to date on their COVID vaccines to minimize the infection’s impact on communities. Last month, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updated guidance to simplify COVID-19 vaccination recommendations. Only the bivalent vaccine is recommended going forward, and the original monovalent formula will no longer be used.

According to state data, as of this week, 55.6% of Alaskans had completed a primary series of the COVID-19 vaccine. Only 13.2% were up to date on their vaccine and had received the bivalent booster. In the Kenai Peninsula Borough, 11.6% are up to date on their COVID-19 vaccine, while 49.5% haven’t received even a single dose.

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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