27 new deaths reported; COVID cases, hospitalizations down overall

For the period of Sept. 28 to Oct. 4, 554 new COVID-19 cases were reported

According to the Alaska COVID-19 Data Hub, updated Wednesday, 31 patients are hospitalized with COVID-19. No patients are on ventilators. This is a decrease from last week, when DOH reported that 34 patients were hospitalized. This is the third consecutive week of declining hospitalizations statewide.

According to state data, as of Wednesday, four patients were hospitalized in the Gulf Coast region, which includes the Kenai Peninsula, Kodiak and the Chugach census area. A total of four hospitalized patients have been reported each week since Sept. 21.

The state reported 27 new resident deaths from COVID-19 this week. Deaths are reported in batches, as they are confirmed by the state. These are not necessarily from the last week, though the state no longer specifies the timeframe for reported deaths. The last update was three weeks ago, when the state reported 25 deaths.

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. 28 to Oct. 4, 554 new COVID-19 cases were reported, with 519 being Alaska residents. Case counts are down from last week, when officials reported 800 new cases for the period of Sept. 21 to Sept. 27. This is the third consecutive week of declining case counts statewide.

For the most recent week, 29 cases were reported in the Kenai Peninsula Borough. This is down from 48 last week.

Officials recommend all eligible Alaskans be up to date on their COVID vaccines to minimize the infection’s impact on communities. Anyone 6 months and older is eligible for a primary vaccination series and everyone 5 and up can receive a booster.

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 is 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, 68.0% of Alaskans have received their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. Only 28.2% have received the first booster.

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 jacob.dye@peninsulaclarion.com.