The state Department of Health and Social Services reported a total of 358 new COVID-19 cases over the weekend, as cases were still declining as of Monday.
State data showed a 46% decrease in cases from the week of March 14 to the week prior, when cases took a slight turn upward. According to the New York Times, cases nationwide were still falling Monday.
Health officials said during a public science session last week that while there doesn’t seem to be as much COVID spreading in most of the United States, some other countries are starting to pick back up again, including Germany, France and the United Kingdom.
Because of the availability of at-home COVID testing kits, state health officials say analyzing hospitalization metrics is a more accurate reflection of the amount of virus still spreading.
There were a total of 45 COVID-related hospitalizations in Alaska as of Monday, with three of those patients on ventilators.
State data showed COVID hospitalizations were also continuing downward on Monday.
The three-day combined total of 358 new cases were sequenced last Friday, Saturday and Sunday. The average number of daily cases over the past week as of Monday was 180.1 per 100,000 people, which is still considered high risk. This seven-day average figure estimates a daily case count proportionate to population by averaging the actual number of reported cases each day over the previous week.
New cases reported Monday included nine in Homer, seven in Kenai, two in Anchor Point, and one each in the Kenai Peninsula Boroughs North and South, Seward, Soldotna and Sterling.
Officials are encouraging everyone to get caught up on their COVID vaccinations in order to minimize risk of contracting and spreading the virus.
The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is approved for everyone 5 years and older, while the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson/Janssen vaccines are approved for anyone 18 and older.
In addition to a primary series — two doses of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine or one dose of the Janssen vaccine — experts are strongly encouraging booster shots to protect against omicron, whether or not a person has already contracted the virus and despite elapsed time since the completion of the primary series.
The Food and Drug Administration and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are recommending Pfizer boosters for anyone 12 and older at least five months after the primary series. Additionally, Moderna boosters are recommended for anyone 18 and older at least six months after a primary series.
Janssen boosters are approved for anyone 18 and older at least two months after initial vaccination, although the FDA announced it was revising its fact sheet for the Janssen shot to include more data on the risks of blood clotting associated with the vaccine. The state recommends people with a primary Janssen vaccine to get either a Pfizer or Moderna booster for more robust protection.