COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)

Officials report rise in COVID cases

This week’s data was collected from July 13 through July 19

The state Department of Health reported a total of 3,815 new COVID-19 cases in Alaska on Wednesday — up from the 3,449 reported last week.

This week’s data was collected from July 13 through July 19, and does not include all COVID-positives taken on at-home tests.

Health officials say hospitalization data is the most effective indicator of the prevalence of the virus, although the DOH could not report on the number of COVID hospitalizations this week because of a technical issue.

On July 13, there were 67 reported COVID-related hospitalizations.

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.

As of Wednesday, 64.8% of Alaskans 5 and older were considered fully vaccinated against the virus, according to the DOH.

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.

The state reported Wednesday that 29.5% of Alaskans 5 and older had received a first booster dose. That average is lower in the Kenai Peninsula Borough, at 24.5%.

Officials for months have recommended that Americans get Pfizer or Moderna boosters instead of Johnson and Johnson/Janssen’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 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.

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 Camille Botello at camille.botello@peninsulaclarion.com.

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