COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)

COVID hospitalizations on the rise

86 patients were hospitalized with 10 patients on ventilators

The State Department of Health reported Wednesday that 86 patients were hospitalized with COVID-19. Ten patients were on ventilators. This is an increase from last week, when DOH reported that 65 patients were hospitalized. At that time, only one patient was reported to be on a ventilator.

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. This is up from five last week.

No new Alaska resident deaths were reported by the state this week, though these are reported in batches and are not updated weekly. Last week 21 deaths were confirmed, spanning mostly from May to July of this year.

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 Aug. 10 to Aug. 16, 2,103 new COVID-19 cases were reported, with 1,444 being Alaska residents. The number of statewide cases is down from last week, when officials reported 2,553 new cases for the period of Aug. 3 to Aug. 9. This is the third consecutive week of decreasing case counts.

For the most recent week, 100 cases were reported among Kenai, Soldotna and Nikiski, as well as 36 in Homer and 19 in Seward.

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. 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, 67.7% of Alaskans had received their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. Only 28.1% had received the first booster. In the Kenai Peninsula Borough, only 23.3% 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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