The State Department of Health’s respiratory virus snapshot, which tracks the activity of influenza, respiratory syncytial virus and COVID-19, showed a significant decrease in cases statewide last week, especially for the flu. At the same time, cases on the Kenai Peninsula were shown to be rising, the only one of all 10 regions seeing an upward trend.
The snapshot data updated through Nov. 11 showed statewide, lab-confirmed weekly cases of the flu fell from around 750 to 475. That represents the first downward movement for flu activity in the state since Aug. 19.
On the Kenai Peninsula, according to the snapshot, the flu rate — measured as the number of cases per 100,000 residents — only more recently has begun to climb. Before Oct. 14, several weeks had passed without any reported cases. Since Oct. 21, the case rate has climbed each week, now three consecutive, to 52.6 cases per 100,000 residents.
That number still falls far below the caseload that was seen earlier this season in areas like Anchorage and the Northwest, which saw peaks of 163 and 391 respectively, and as of this week are at 102 and 122.
Flu activity in the state this season is described in the snapshot as being higher than in recent seasons.
The snapshot notes that low area case counts can reflect the absence of testing rather than an absence of disease.
Though influenza has been active this season, COVID-19 has remained largely steady, declining statewide and on the Kenai Peninsula since Oct. 21. RSV activity has been “low,” with the largest number of cases reported in a week being 24. RSV cases have only been reported on the Kenai Peninsula on two weeks.
For more information about respiratory viruses in Alaska, visit health.alaska.gov.
Reach reporter Jake Dye at email@example.com.