More than 100,000 Alaskans vaccinated against COVID-19

Published: Feb. 5, 2021 at 6:28 PM AKST
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - As of Friday, 101,631 people in Alaska have received the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, including over 41,700 people in Anchorage. According to Dr. Janet Johston, epidemiologist for the Anchorage Health Department, that’s about 15% of Anchorage’s population.

Johnston says more than 15,100 Anchorage residents have received a second dose.

Case counts across the municipality continue to decrease as well, however, Johnston says they’re not quite decreasing at the rate they were in recent weeks. On average, it takes about a week after exposure for someone infected with COVID-19 to develop symptoms, and then a few more days to get tested and get results back and into the state tracking system. Muni health officials say it’s something to think about over the Super Bowl weekend.

“Many cases that arose over the holidays last December, where people thought they weren’t positive, got together with family and friends, and then realized later that they had been infectious,” said Johnston. “The COVID-19 virus is devious when it comes to asymptomatic spread, and we need to be on guard against it.”

While case counts have been decreasing, muni officials say the number of hospitalizations has been increasing. Johnston said there were 40 hospitalized infectious COVID-19 patients on Tuesday, with only four staffed adult ICU beds available.

“This increase in hospitalizations reminds us that Anchorage serves as the health care hub for much of the state. With serious COVID-19 outbreaks in other parts of the state, including in the seafood industry, we are seeing more very sick COVID-19 patients in Anchorage hospitals.”

Johnston says the drop in cases is not due to a decrease in testing. She says testing volume is holding steady and well above national target levels. According to Johnston, the percent of COVID-19 tests in Anchorage with a positive result has decreased from 3.2 percent to 2.6 percent, moving Anchorage into the low-risk category for testing.

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