DHSS: Epidemiology of COVID-19 is changing in Alaska
On Thursday, Alaska health leaders explained that more cases of COVID-19 are being reported among younger demographics, and while young people generally have a lower risk of hospitalization or death from the virus, it's a shift DHSS is watching closely.
"Basically what we're seeing, the epidemiology of COVID-19 is changing here in Alaska and nationally," State Epidemiologist Dr. Joe McLaughlin said in a Zoom call with reporters Thursday. "We're seeing many more case counts being reported among younger age cohorts. So in the last couple of weeks... the case counts have been highest in the 20-29 year age group."
After the 20-29 demographic, McLaughlin said the highest counts have been for people in their 30s followed by people in their 40s and then 50s.
Though there has been a dramatic spike in positive cases in recent weeks, the percentage of hospitalized individuals has grown less dramatically.
"What we've seen in other states is that big uptick in younger people, and then that's followed by an uptick in older people who are more likely to be hospitalized, and so we'll just continue to watch this closely," Chief Medical Officer Dr. Anne Zink said.
According to the state's COVID-19 datahub, 28 people were currently hospitalized Wednesday with or suspected of having COVID-19.