COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)

COVID hospitalizations down, cases up

74 patients were hospitalized with COVID-19 as of Wednesday

The State Department of Health reported Wednesday that 74 patients were hospitalized with COVID-19. Only one of these patients was on a ventilator. This is down from last week, when DOH reported that 83 patients were hospitalized.

According to state data, as of Wednesday seven patients were hospitalized in the Gulf Coast region, which includes the Kenai Peninsula, Kodiak and the Chugach census area.

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. No new deaths from COVID-19 were reported Wednesday.

For the period of July 27 to Aug. 2, 3,284 new COVID-19 cases were reported, with 2,160 being Alaska residents. The number of statewide cases is up slightly from last week, when officials reported 2,946 new cases for the period of July 20 to July 26.

For the most recent week, 146 cases were reported between Kenai, Soldotna and Nikiski, as well as 60 in Homer and 30 in Seward.

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 everyone 5 and up can receive a booster. Everyone 50 or older is eligible for a second booster. The second booster is also available to certain individuals who are immunocompromised. Boosters are recommended whether or not a person has already contracted the virus.

As of Wednesday, 67.5% of Alaskans have received their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. Only 27.8% have received the first booster. In the Kenai Peninsula Borough, only 23% of residents are up to date on their COVID vaccination, 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.

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