COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)

Statewide COVID case numbers remain steady

Cases have increased by just 1% from the week of April 20-26

The state Department of Health and Social Services on Wednesday reported a total of 1,469 new COVID-19 cases from April 27 through May 3.

The state also reported a total of 33 COVID-related hospitalizations in Alaska, with none of them on ventilators, and 1 new death.

Cases have increased by just 1% in Alaska from the week of April 20 through April 26, according to the DHSS. Nationally, the 14-day change rate of newly reported COVID cases has increased by 54%, according to data from the New York Times.

On Thursday, the World Health Organization reported that in the first two years of the pandemic nearly 15 million people worldwide died of COVID or due to its impact on overwhelmed health care system, the Associated Press reported.

The total is significantly higher than numbers provided to the WHO by governments, as well as a separate tally kept by Johns Hopkins University, which reported more than 6.2 million virus-related deaths, the AP reported.

According to the New York Times data tracker, nearly one million COVID deaths — 995,017 as of Thursday — occurred in the United States.

Officials recommend all eligible Alaskans be up to date on their COVID vaccines to minimize the impact on communities.

As of Wednesday, 64.9% of Alaskans 5 and older were considered fully vaccinated against the virus, according to the DHSS. In the Kenai Peninsula Borough, that average was at 50.3%.

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.

The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is approved for everyone 5 years and older, while the Moderna shot is approved for anyone 18 and older.

On Thursday, the Food and Drug Administration said the Johnson & Johnson/Janssen shot should only be given to adults who cannot receive a different vaccine or specifically request J&J’s vaccine, the Associated Press reported. U.S. authorities for months have recommended that Americans get Pfizer or Moderna shots instead of J&J’s vaccine, according to the AP.

The Food and Drug Administration and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are recommending Pfizer boosters for anyone 12 and older at least five months after the primary series. Additionally, Moderna boosters are recommended for anyone 18 and older at least six months after a primary series.

For those 50 years and older who are up to date with their primary series and first booster, another dose of either Pfizer or Moderna is authorized four months after the initial booster dose. In this category, a person with three vaccines of any combination of Pfizer or Moderna is now eligible for a fourth dose, and those with a single Janssen shot and booster can now receive a third dose of either Pfizer or Moderna.

In addition, certain immunocompromised individuals can also receive another Pfizer or Moderna shot four months after their last booster. This would include three shots for a primary series and two additional booster doses.

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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