The State Department of Health reported Wednesday that 66 patients were hospitalized with COVID-19. No patients are on ventilators. This is an increase from last week, when DOH reported that 62 patients were hospitalized. At that time, two patients were reported to be on ventilators.
According to state data, as of Wednesday two patients were hospitalized in the Gulf Coast region, which includes the Kenai Peninsula, Kodiak and the Chugach census area. This is down from four last week.
The state reported 25 new resident deaths from COVID-19 this week. Deaths are reported in batches, and these deaths were stated to have occurred anytime in 2022. This is the first time deaths have been reported from August.
Of those deaths, one was a resident of Kenai, one was a resident of the Kenai Peninsula Borough-North, two were from Soldotna and two were from Seward.
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 Sept. 7 to Sept. 13, 1,494 new COVID-19 cases were reported, with 950 being Alaska residents. The number of statewide cases is up from last week, when officials reported 1,391 new cases for the period of Aug. 31 to Sept. 6.
For the most recent week, 65 cases were reported between Kenai, Soldotna and Nikiski, an increase from 35 cases reported in the same area last week. Homer had 14 new cases and Seward had 10.
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.
Starting this week, an updated bivalent COVID-19 booster vaccine is available in Alaska. These are available to individuals who are 12 years of age or older, and are designed to tackle both the original COVID-19 strain as well as the BA.4 and BA.5 subvariants of Omicron.
This new booster will be available to eligible individuals at least two months after their last shot, whether that was a booster dose or their primary vaccine series.
Boosters are recommended whether or not a person has already contracted the virus.
As of Wednesday, 68.1% of Alaskans have received their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. Only 28.3% have received the first booster. In the Kenai Peninsula Borough, only 23.5% of residents have received a booster dose, 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.
Reach reporter Jake Dye at firstname.lastname@example.org.