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Alaska Department of Health & Social Services Weekly Case Update
August 15 — August 21, 2021
- The number of reported COVID-19 cases in Alaska continued last week on an upwards trajectory.
- 3,232 cases were reported in Alaskans between August 15–August 21. This is a 47.4% increase from the week before.
- Cases remain high or are increasing in most parts of the state on the road system (including Kenai Peninsula Borough, Anchorage, Matanuska-Susitna Borough, and Fairbanks North Star Borough).
- While the intensity of COVID-19 transmission varies substantially between communities off the road system, COVID-19 cases are regularly reported from nearly all boroughs and census areas.
- The Delta variant has become the dominant SARS-CoV-2 variant in Alaska. This variant transmits more easily than other variants.
- Currently available COVID vaccines will help protect you, your family, and your community against COVID-19, including the Delta variant. Getting vaccinated now is more important than ever.
- If you do test positive, isolate right away, and notify your contacts. Ask them to get tested and, if they are unvaccinated, to quarantine.
- Monoclonal antibody treatments are effective and reduce the risk of hospitalization. If you have COVID-19 or are a close contact, talk to a healthcare provider about whether treatment may be right for you. The treatments work best when given early.
- CDC recommends that all persons in areas with substantial or high community transmission wear a mask when in indoor public spaces, regardless of vaccination status. Most Alaskans live in an area with substantial or high community transmission as classified by the CDC.
- Fully vaccinated persons who are close contacts to someone with COVID-19 do not need to quarantine but should get tested 3 to 5 days after exposure and wear a mask in public indoor areas for 14 days or until they receive a negative test result.
- Alert levels are based on the case counts over the past 7 days as well as the daily number of reported cases over the past 7 days per 100,000 population.
- Alert levels have been changed to more closely mirror CDC’s community transmission indicator and are calculated by borough and census area, rather than by region.
- *Rates based on <20 observations are statistically unreliable and should be used with caution.
- **Rates based on <6 observations are not reported.
- Anyone aged 12+ in Alaska is eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine.
- If you have received an initial dose of the Pfizer or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine, be sure to get your second dose too. Scientific studies have shown that two doses of an mRNA vaccine are more effective than one dose of an mRNA vaccine, especially against emerging variants of concern.
- CDC recommends that people with moderately to severely compromised immune systems receive an additional dose of mRNA COVID-19 vaccine at least 28 days after a second dose of an mRNA vaccine.
- Vaccinated persons with immunocompromising conditions should discuss with their health care providers the need for additional personal protective measures.
- To schedule your vaccine appointment visit covidvax.alaska.gov or call 907-646-3322.
- To find clinics in your area you can visit vaccines.gov or text your zip code to GETVAX (438829) in English, or VACUNA (822862) for Spanish.
- The Alaska vaccine dashboard is available online for the most up-to-date data.
- This is the percent of Alaskans aged 12+ who received one or more doses of vaccine.
New Hospitalizations and Deaths
- Cumulative hospitalizations increased by 111 to 1,924. Hospitalization reports often lag when a case was initially reported.
- 13.1% of hospitalized patients in Alaska had COVID-19 as of August 24, 2021.
- On August 21, there were 132 persons with COVID-19 in AK hospitals, which is a 13.8% increase relative to the week before when there were 116 persons hospitalized.
- The cumulative number of COVID-19 deaths among Alaska residents increased by 11 to 406. It is common to take some time for a death to be reported and verified, and deaths that occurred during August 15–August 21 may be reported in the future after death certificates are reviewed.
- The most recent Alaska COVID Genomic Surveillance report was released on August 24th.
Vaccine Breakthrough Cases
(Seven day rolling average)
- Vaccine breakthrough (VB) infections of COVID-19 are those detected in a person who is at least 2 weeks beyond their second dose of a 2-dose series or the only dose of a 1-dose series.
- From January 1–August 21, 2021, 15 deaths, 76 hospitalizations, and 3,735 cases with a VB infection were reported among Alaska residents. These counts are provisional and subject to change as more data are compiled. In that same time frame, a total of 34,040 cases, 837 hospitalizations, and 137 deaths were reported.
- 89% of all cases, 91% of all hospitalizations, and 89% of deaths among Alaska residents from January 1 through August 21, 2021 were in people who were not fully vaccinated.
- Specimens from VB infections are described in the weekly Alaska Genomics Report.
- Can’t tune into a live ECHO videoconference but don’t want to miss out? The full schedule of ECHO sessions and access to COVID-19 ECHO videos and slideshows are available for download anytime on the DHSS ECHO web page.
- Recent developments with vaccines
- DHSS press release, 8/23: Pfizer vaccine granted full FDA approval
- DHSS press release, 8/20: COVID-19 three-dose vaccine series for immunocompromised individuals recommended and available now; also monitoring CDC plans for booster doses for persons fully vaccinated with an mRNA vaccine
- New DHSS webpage: COVID-19 outpatient treatment
- Feeling Sick or Exposed to COVID-19 — What Now? (PDF)
- Testing: Locate Testing Sites
- Start the school year healthy and strong. Learn more about Back-to-School health and wellness campaigns on this webpage.
- Share these social media posts and graphics: Call your close contacts | Alaska's own NFL Super Bowl Champion Mark Schlereth encourages vaccines | Monoclonal antibody treatments
- Video PSAs:
- Pregnancy and vaccination with Dr. Anne Zink and Edith Nageak
- Bounce Back Alaska: Well child checkups and immunizations with Valerie McCarney
- Sleeves Up for School with Dr. Noah Laufer
- Request support from DHSS
- DHSS offers free presentations upon request to groups about COVID-19, the vaccines, COVID-19 prevention or other health topics upon request. Learn more or request a presentation on our Speaker’s Bureau web page.
- DHSS offers support for one-time or reoccurring COVID-19 vaccination events. Submit your request for support and provide information about the event by filling out this form.
(Seven day rolling average)
Additional informational resources:
- The State of Alaska COVID-19 information page provides more information about the virus and how individuals and businesses can protect themselves and others from transmission
- For the most up-to-date case information, see the Alaska Coronavirus Response Hub dashboard: updated Monday – Friday at data.coronavirus.alaska.gov