COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)

State reports 21 new COVID deaths; cases down from last week

20 of the reported deaths took place from May to July

The State Department of Health reported Wednesday that 65 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 74 patients were hospitalized.

According to state data, as of Wednesday five patients were hospitalized in the Gulf Coast region, which includes the Kenai Peninsula, Kodiak and the Chugach census area. This is down from seven last week.

The state reported 21 new Alaska resident deaths this week, though these are reported in batches and are not from the last seven days. This number includes one death from February, and 20 between May and July 2022. One of these deaths was a woman from Soldotna, in her 60s.

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. 3 to Aug. 9, 2,553 new COVID-19 cases were reported, with 1,867 being Alaska residents. The number of statewide cases is down from last week, when officials reported 3,284 new cases for the period of July 27 to Aug. 2.

For the most recent week, 171 cases were reported between Kenai, Soldotna and Nikiski, as well as 51 in Homer and 22 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, 67.6% of Alaskans have received their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. Only 27.9% have 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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