Exactly 100 more resident cases of COVID-19 were reported by the State Department of Health this week compared to last, for a total of 472. That makes the largest increase reported since Sept. 14, and the highest number of weekly cases reported since Oct. 12.
An increase in COVID-19 hospitalizations was also reported, with 34 being reported Tuesday, compared to 28 last week. Two of those patients are on ventilators.
In the Gulf Coast region, which includes the Kenai Peninsula Borough, four patients were reported as hospitalized with COVID-19, including both of the patients who are on ventilators. Last week, three patients were reported hospitalized with the virus in the region, with one 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. No information is provided about when these deaths occurred. The last update was three weeks ago, when 19 deaths were confirmed. To date, there have been 1,418 deaths statewide from COVID-19 and 120 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. 1 to Jan. 7, 472 new resident COVID-19 cases were reported. Case counts are up from last week, when officials reported 372 new resident cases for the period of Dec. 25 to Dec. 31.
Though cases are up statewide, the borough has seen a decrease. For the most recent week, 23 cases were reported in the Kenai Peninsula Borough. This is down from 41 last week.
Officials recommend all eligible Alaskans be up to date on their COVID vaccines to minimize the infection’s impact on communities. At this point, 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.
As of Tuesday, 57.2% of Alaskans have completed a primary series of the COVID-19 vaccine. Only 11.1% are up to date on their vaccine and have received the bivalent booster. In the Kenai Peninsula Borough, 10.3% are up to date on their vaccine. In the borough, 48.8% — 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.
To find a COVID-19 or influenza vaccine provider, visit vaccines.gov.
Reach reporter Jake Dye at firstname.lastname@example.org.