A sharp increase in the number of weekly cases of COVID-19 was reported by the State Department of Health for the Kenai Peninsula Borough in data updated Thursday.
Weekly cases of COVID-19 by region are reported via the department’s Respiratory Virus Snapshot. The snapshot was updated Thursday to include data through Jan. 27.
Starting in December, the snapshot shows that several areas of the state saw significant spikes in COVID activity, especially in Anchorage, Juneau and the Interior. Though local numbers for the Kenai Peninsula Borough did increase in December, they did not rise so sharply as in other areas of the state and did not rise above the counts seen locally during a previous wave in the summer. As of this week, the local count has risen abruptly and sharply.
Regional case rates are reported as the number of cases per 100,000 residents. In November, the borough was reporting a rate as low as 8.5 cases per 100,000 residents. As of last week, data through Jan. 20, that number had climbed to 44.1. As of Jan. 27, the rate is 84.8 — higher than the rate reported in Anchorage this week, though the city has been declining for the last few weeks.
The local case rate is the highest recorded for the Kenai Peninsula Borough in the snapshot, far greater than the previous peak of 49.2 reported during a September wave of the virus. The snapshot has only been in use since the department’s COVID-19 Data Hub was discontinued that month. Archived data from the hub isn’t directly comparable to data being reported by the department.
Statewide, COVID-19 cases have declined for three consecutive weeks. The snapshot shows that from a low of 132 cases per week on Nov. 25, counts rose to a peak of 716 on Jan. 6 but have since declined to 632 as of Jan. 27.
Nationally, hospitalizations and deaths from COVID-19 have been declining since early January, after similarly spiking in November. The CDC reports that roughly 2,000 people are dying each week from COVID-19 in the United States.
For more information about COVID-19 in Alaska, visit health.alaska.gov.
Reach reporter Jake Dye at firstname.lastname@example.org.