COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations are up locally and statewide, according to data updated by the Department of Health on Tuesday.
According to state data, 35 people are hospitalized with COVID-19 in Alaska. This is up from last week’s reported total of 21 patients who were hospitalized.
Of the patients hospitalized this week, one is on a ventilator. This is the first time a patient has been reported on a ventilator since January. Locally, in the Gulf Coast region, which includes the Kenai Peninsula Borough, six patients are hospitalized. Last week, the local region reported two hospitalizations.
The state reported no new resident deaths from COVID-19 this week. Deaths are reported in batches, as they are confirmed by the state. No information is provided about when these deaths occurred. The last update was two weeks ago, when 13 deaths were confirmed. None of those deaths were in the Kenai Peninsula Borough. To date, there have been 1,449 deaths statewide from COVID-19 and 124 in the borough.
Due to the widespread availability of at-home COVID testing, officials say hospitalization and recent death data are more effective indicators of the virus’ spread than case counts.
For the period of Feb. 26 to March 4, 582 new resident COVID-19 cases were reported. Case counts are up from last week, when officials reported 451 new resident cases for the period of Feb. 19 to Feb. 25.
For the most recent week, 40 cases were reported in the Kenai Peninsula Borough. This is up from 38 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 can receive a booster.
An updated bivalent COVID-19 booster vaccine is available in Alaska. These are designed to tackle both the original COVID-19 strain and 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 this week, 56.7% of Alaskans had completed a primary series of the COVID-19 vaccine. Only 12.8% were up to date on their vaccine and had received the bivalent booster. In the Kenai Peninsula Borough, 11.0% were up to date on their vaccine. In the borough, 48.7% — nearly half of all individuals — had not received even a single dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.
For more information on vaccine eligibility, visit https://dhss.alaska.gov/dph/epi/id/pages/covid-19/vaccineinfo.aspx.
To find a COVID-19 or Influenza vaccine provider, visit vaccines.gov.
Reach reporter Jake Dye at firstname.lastname@example.org.