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Alaska reports over 500 new COVID-19 cases over the weekend

The state of Alaska on Monday reported over 500 new cases of COVID-19 over the last three days.
Published: Mar. 14, 2022 at 2:06 PM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - The state of Alaska on Monday reported over 500 new cases of COVID-19 over the last three days.

The Alaska Department of Health and Social Services reported 511 cases on Monday — 251 from Friday, 179 from Saturday and 81 from Sunday. Of those, 17 were among nonresidents. The alert level for the state remains high.

The COVID-19-related hospitalizations reported by the state fell to 38, after hovering in the 50s last week. Of those, three patients are on ventilators. Of all hospitalized people in Alaska, just 3.1% are hospitalized with COVID-19. There are 32 intensive care unit beds available statewide, 11 of which are in Anchorage.

Alaska State Hospital and Nursing Home Association President and CEO Jared Kosin said that Alaska hospitals are recovering from the pandemic — no longer responding to a health care crisis or surge in cases.

“We are not dominated by the pandemic at this point,” Kosin said.

Kosin said that the health care workforce was the biggest challenge, with vacancies left by burnout and other issues.

“In terms of hospitalizations we’re at a low point. We’re in recover mode,” Kosin said. “We’re focusing on workforce and how to recover from the pandemic,” Kosin said.

Throughout the course of the coronavirus pandemic, there have been 1,201 COVID-19-related deaths, with 33 of those among nonresidents.

Despite lower case counts, Alaska still has the second-highest rate of new cases per capita, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Alaska’s seven-day rate of 224.5 cases per 100,000 people is behind only Idaho with a rate of 304.9.

The state health department reported that the BA.2 variant of COVID-19 — better known as stealth omicron — has increased rapidly over the last two months. The state has sequenced 136 confirmed stealth omicron cases, and 36.14% of the total count of collection were stealth omicron cases. The original omicron variant dropped from 97.07% at its peak on Jan. 16 to 68.86% on Feb. 20.

There are five boroughs and census areas that have an alert level below high. The Wrangell City and Borough is at a low alert level with just one reported case in the last two weeks, Southeast Fairbanks Census Area and the Aleutians West Census Area are at moderate, and Fairbanks and Petersburg are at a substantial alert level.

The state reported little change in vaccination data. According to the state’s vaccine monitoring dashboard, 71.2% of eligible Alaska residents and military members have had their first dose of a vaccine, and 64.1% have completed their primary series. The dashboard shows 27% of Alaska residents age 5 and older have received their booster shots while 35.6% have no COVID-19 vaccination data reported whatsoever.

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