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COVID-19 Alaska Weekly Case Update: August 29 – September 4, 2021
- The number of reported COVID-19 cases in Alaska continued last week on an upwards trajectory.
- 4,112 cases were reported in Alaskans between August 29–September 4. This is a 16.7% increase from the week before.
- Cases remain high or are increasing in most parts of the state on the road system. Per capita incidence rates in Matanuska-Susitna Borough and Fairbanks North Star Borough area catching up to or exceeding those in Anchorage and the Kenai Peninsula Borough. Rates in Juneau are similarly high as well.
- 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 years 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 years who received one or more doses of vaccine.
New Hospitalizations and Deaths
- Cumulative hospitalizations increased by 83 to 2,059. Hospitalization reports often lag when a case was initially reported.
- 20.9% of hospitalized patients in Alaska had COVID-19 as of September 7, 2021.
- On September 4th, there were 169 persons with COVID-19 in AK hospitals, which is an 11.9% increase relative to the week before when there were 151 persons hospitalized.
- The cumulative number of COVID-19 deaths among Alaska residents increased by 10 to 437. It is common to take some time for a death to be reported and verified, and deaths that occurred during August 29–September 4 may be reported in the future after death certificates are reviewed.
- The most recent Alaska COVID Genomic Surveillance report was released on September 8th.
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 Alaska residents aged ≥12 years with a specimen collection date from January 16–September 4, 2021.
- From January 16–September 4, 2021, 17 deaths, 105 hospitalizations, and 6,378 cases with a VB infection were reported among Alaska residents aged ≥12 years. These counts are provisional and subject to change as data are compiled and reviewed. In that same time frame, a total of 33,039 cases, 894 hospitalizations, and 131 deaths were reported.
- 81% of all cases, 88% of all hospitalizations, and 87% of deaths among Alaska residents aged ≥12 years from January 16–September 4, 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.
- Age-adjusted per capita rates of COVID-19 cases by vaccination status are updated weekly. Many COVID-19 cases with specimen collection in the immediate past week (indicated by the grey box) have not yet been reported or counted.
Age-adjusted per capita rates of COVID-19 hospitalizations by vaccination status are updated monthly. Alaska residents who are fully vaccinated are much less likely to be hospitalized due to COVID-19 than those who are not fully vaccinated.
COVID-19 Communication Resources
- 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
Reasons to get vaccinated against COVID-19: Visit the updated Sleeves Up, Alaska webpage to download a flyer for sharing, as well as to access more information about vaccine safety and effectiveness and frequently asked questions.
Give AK a Shot sweepstakes: The Alaska Chamber launched a vaccination sweepstakes on September 2, 2021 to run through October 30, 2021, with weekly statewide drawings for newly vaccinated individuals and one drawing for individuals who received their vaccination between December 2020 and September 1, 2021.
Recently updated webpages and reports:
- 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: Inupiaqtun wellness message | Prioritize youth health | Dr. Cutchins on COVID treatment options | Medicare scam alert | Get tested | 60% vaccination rate | Healthy eating
- Video PSAs:
- Give AK a Shot Sweepstakes
- Natural immunity vs. vaccine-induced immunity with State Epidemiologist Dr. Joe McLaughlin
- Monoclonal antibodies treatment and misinformation about ivermectin with Dr. Coleman Cutchins
- 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.
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.