COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)

COVID hospitalizations, cases down from last week

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

According to an Alaska COVID-19 Data Summary, released Wednesday, 34 patients are hospitalized with COVID-19. No patients are on ventilators. This is a decrease from last week, when DOH reported that 37 patients were hospitalized. At that time, no patients were reported to be on ventilators.

During a public health ECHO last week, held via Zoom and broadcast on Facebook, State Epidemiologist Dr. Joe McLaughlin announced that the weekly Alaska COVID-19 Summary — distributed via email and on social media — will be discontinued. This week is the final release of the newsletter.

COVID-19 Updates will continue to be published by The Peninsula Clarion on Wednesdays using information from the state COVID-19 dashboard, which is still set to be updated with fresh numbers weekly.

According to state data, as of Wednesday, four patients were hospitalized in the Gulf Coast region, which includes the Kenai Peninsula, Kodiak and the Chugach census area. Last week, it was also reported that four Gulf Coast patients were hospitalized.

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 last update was two weeks ago, when the state reported 25 deaths that took place anywhere between the start of the year and the end of August. So far, no deaths have been confirmed for September.

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.

For the period of Sept. 21 to Sept. 27, 800 new COVID-19 cases were reported, with 546 being Alaska residents. Case counts are down from last week, when officials reported 980 new cases for the period of Sept. 14 to Sept. 20.

For the most recent week, 48 cases were reported in the Kenai Peninsula Borough. This is down from 58 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 available to individuals who are 12 years of age or older, and are designed to tackle both the original COVID-19 strain as well as 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 Wednesday, 68.1% of Alaskans have received their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. Only 28.3% have received the first booster. In the Kenai Peninsula Borough, 23.5% of residents have received a booster dose, according to state data.

Officials recommend that Americans get either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines and boosters. The FDA has said the Johnson & Johnson shot should only be given to adults who cannot receive a different vaccine or who 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 DOH’s COVID-19 vaccine website at covidvax.alaska.gov.

Reach reporter Jake Dye at jacob.dye@peninsulaclarion.com.

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