COVID

COVID

COVID cases, hospitalizations, down from last week’s report

Officials say hospitalization data is the most effective indicator of the prevalence of the virus

The Alaska Department of Health and Social Services reported a total of 56 COVID-19-related hospitalizations in Alaska on Wednesday — down from 87 reported last week. Between June 29 and July 5, 3,323 new COVID cases reported, also a decrease from last week’s total of 3,660 reported cases.

Because of the availability of at-home COVID testing, however, officials say hospitalization data is the most effective indicator of the prevalence of the virus.

Officials recommend all eligible Alaskans be up to date on their COVID vaccines to minimize the infection’s impact on communities.

Anyone over 6 months old is eligible for a vaccine, and the state recommends individuals receive either a Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna shot. The Johnson and Johnson/Janssen vaccine is also approved for anyone 18 and older.

As of Wednesday, 64.6% of Alaskans 5 and older were considered fully vaccinated against the virus, according to the DHSS. About 71.8% of Alaskans 5 and older had received at least their first vaccine dose.

Booster shots are recommended, whether or not a person has already contracted the virus and despite elapsed time since the completion of the primary series. Everyone 5 and older is eligible for a booster dose. For those 50 years and older who are up to date with their primary series and first booster, a second booster dose is recommended. In addition, certain moderately or severely immunocompromised individuals can also receive a second booster.

Officials for months have recommended that Americans get Pfizer or Moderna boosters instead of J&J’s vaccine. The FDA said the J&J shot should only be given to adults who cannot receive a different vaccine or specifically request it.

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 DHSS’ COVID-19 vaccine website at covidvax.alaska.gov.

Reach reporter Ashlyn O’Hara at ashlyn.ohara@peninsulaclarion.com.

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