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Alaska Department of Health & Social Services Weekly Case Update
August 22 — August 28, 2021
- The number of reported COVID-19 cases in Alaska continued last week on an upwards trajectory.
- 3,525 cases were reported in Alaskans between August 22–August 28. This is a 9.1% 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.
- In areas with substantial or high community transmission, wearing a mask when in indoor public spaces regardless of vaccination status is an important step to take to slow the spread of COVID-19. Most Alaskans live in an area with substantial or high community transmission.
- 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.
- 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 52 to 1,976. Hospitalization reports often lag when a case was initially reported.
- 16.5% of hospitalized patients in Alaska had COVID-19 as of August 31, 2021.
- On August 28th, there were 151 persons with COVID-19 in AK hospitals, which is a 14.4% increase relative to the week before when there were 132 persons hospitalized.
- The cumulative number of COVID-19 deaths among Alaska residents increased by 21 to 427. It is common to take some time for a death to be reported and verified, and deaths that occurred during August 22–August 28 may be reported in the future after death certificates are reviewed.
- The most recent Alaska COVID Genomic Surveillance report was released on September 1st.
Vaccine Breakthrough Cases
- 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.
- The updated VB data are among Alaskans aged 12+ with a specimen collection date from January 16th through August 28th.
- From January 16–August 28, 2021, 16 deaths, 85 hospitalizations, and 5,162 cases with a VB infection were reported among Alaska residents aged 12+. These counts are provisional and subject to change as more data are compiled. In that same time frame, a total of 29,184 cases, 802 hospitalizations, and 121 deaths were reported.
- 82% of all cases, 89% of all hospitalizations, and 87% of deaths among Alaska residents age 12 and up from January 16 through August 28, 2021 were in people who were not fully vaccinated.
- Specimens from VB infections are described in the weekly Alaska Genomics Report. More detailed information about hospitalizations, deaths, and vaccine breakthrough infections among Alaskan residents can also be found in the monthly report.
COVID-19 Communication Resources
(Seven day rolling average)
- A new monthly report was released with updates on COVID-19 hospitalizations, deaths, and vaccine breakthrough infections in Alaska: COVID-19 Update through July 2021
- New webpage: What to do if you’re sick or exposed to COVID-19 or download the What Now? graphic (PDF) and share.
- Updated webpage: Outpatient treatments for COVID-19 and information about ivermectin
- Can’t tune into a live ECHO videoconference but don’t want to miss out on the latest updates? 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.
- Start the 2021-22 school year healthy and strong
- Webpage: School health information for the new school year
- DEED/DHSS: Memo to Superintendents: Recommendations for keeping Alaskan K-12 students safe in school (PDF)
- DHSS: Return to School After Symptoms form (PDF) for physicians to fill out and provide to parents for when a child returns to school after testing positive for COVID-19
- Bounce Back Alaska: Resiliency resources for youth, parents, educators, and families
- Share these social media posts and graphics: Vax and mask | Immunocompromised Alaskans can receive a third dose of vaccine | Who is hospitalized from COVID-19? | State Virology Lab sequences for variants (video) | Post-COVID | Monoclonal antibody treatment | Everyday actions protect you
- Video PSAs:
- State Virology Lab COVID-19 sequencing
- Sleeves up for School/Bounce Back with Wasilla Middle School Nurse Angela Conway
- Sleeves up for School/Bounce Back with Mat-Su Career and Technical High School Nurse Sonja Mack
- Mark Schlereth, 3x Superbowl champion and fellow Alaskan on vaccines
- Bounce Back with teachers, coaches, athletes, youth leaders
- 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 vaccine status update page
- 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: data.coronavirus.alaska.gov. All dashboard data are updated Monday through Friday.