After a spike of 50 new COVID-19 cases was reported in the Kenai Peninsula Borough last week, numbers have fallen almost as sharply — with only 22 reported this week.
According to state data, 22 people are hospitalized with COVID-19 in Alaska. This is down from 28 last week. In the Gulf Coast region, which includes the Kenai Peninsula Borough, three hospitalizations were reported, up from none last week. Statewide, three patients are on ventilators.
The state reported 19 new resident deaths from COVID-19 this week, though none of those deaths were reportedly residents of the Kenai Peninsula Borough. Deaths are reported in batches, as they are confirmed by the state. No information is provided about when these deaths occurred. The updates come roughly once a month. To date, there have been 1,468 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 March 19 to March 25, 512 new resident COVID-19 cases were reported in the state. Case counts are up from last week, when officials reported 497 new resident cases for the period of March 12 to March 18.
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, 56.8% of Alaskans had completed a primary series of the COVID-19 vaccine. Only 13% were up to date on their vaccine and had received the bivalent booster. Information about vaccination levels on the Kenai Peninsula was unavailable due to a data error.
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.