Have COVID-19 questions? Join DHSS by Zoom today at noon or watch the COVID-19 Science ECHO on Facebook Live

Please join DHSS by videoconference or on Facebook for the COVID-19 Science ECHO.

WHO: For the general public; anyone is welcome to join. 

WHEN: Every Wednesday, noon to 1 pm. These webinars can also be watched on Facebook. Register to attend; seats are limited. 

WHAT: DHSS Division of Public Health will provide up-to-date information about the science of the virus, cases in Alaska, recent trends and current best practices.  Alaska media are welcome to join and ask questions. 

The Public Health Team includes:
Anne Zink, MD, Alaska Chief Medical Officer
Joe McLaughlin, MD, Chief Epidemiologist
Anna Frick, MPH, CIC
Coleman Cutchins, PharmD
Louisa Castrodale, DVM, MPH

HOW: To join this Zoom webinar/videoconference, register at https://alaska.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_i2syaoh3SCCTKY2U289H_Q

THIS WEEK’S HIGHLIGHTS:  

Brief status report

  • Virus transmission across Alaska is estimated to have increased for the ninth week in a row.
  • Cases diagnosed in recent weeks have exceeded the ability of public health to immediately report individual cases. Cases reported this week are an underestimate of true new positive tests. New positive tests are always an underestimate of true new cases.
  • Hospitalizations for COVID-19 continue to rise. Hospital capacity and staffing have become a significant concern.
  • Testing is not keeping up with new cases.
  • Alaskans should get tested immediately at the first sign of any symptoms. Testing is our best tool for understanding virus transmission and risk in our communities.
  • Most Alaskans get COVID-19 from a friend, family member or coworker. Alaskans should avoid indoor gatherings with non-household members, avoid crowds, wear masks when around non-household members and stay six feet from anyone not in their household.
  • Travel is currently a high risk activity. For the last week of airport data reported, around 1 in 20 passengers tested after arriving at Alaska airports from out of state were positive for the virus causing COVID-19.

 Case trends and predictions

  • Over four thousand cases among Alaskans were reported last week, reflecting continued high community transmission throughout much of Alaska.
  • Cases are increasing across urban and rural regions and increased in nearly every region this week. All regions of Alaska have high community transmission and are at a high alert level.
  • The estimated daily growth rate is 1.7% and cases are expected to double around every 42 days based on current modeling.
  • The largest increases in case rates were in the Mat-Su Borough and Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta Regions. Mat-Su, which had reported a decline in case rates last week, had an increase in 14-day case rate per 100,000 from 41.7 to 68.3, a 64% rise. The Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta Region continued a trend of steep increase in case rate from 146 to 188, a 29% rise.
  • Several regions reported decreases in case rates, including a small decrease in Anchorage as well as larger decreases in Fairbanks, the Interior, Juneau and both Southeast regions. Anchorage’s positivity rate of 6.9 suggests that the case rate in Anchorage is likely a significant underestimate, while a positivity rate lower than 5% in the other regions suggest that undertesting is less of a concern. Anchorage continues to have a case rate reflective of an extremely high incidence of community transmission, at a 14-day average case rate of 105 cases per 100,000 people.
  • Put in real terms and using Anchorage as an example, a model developed at Georgia Tech estimates that a gathering involving 10 people in Anchorage right now would have more than a 4 in 10 chance of including at least one person with COVID-19. Model: https://covid19risk.biosci.gatech.edu/

FOR MORE INFORMATION ON ECHOS: For more information: https://www.uaa.alaska.edu/academics/college-of-health/departments/center-for-human-development/AK-ECHO/

Please consider connecting with Alaska’s COVID-19 team on other topics through Project ECHO (Extension for Community Healthcare Outcomes). These video conferences on Zoom connect Alaska’s COVID-19 experts with specific audiences on specific topics. 

Find ECHOS and registration links on a wide variety of COVID-19 topics: http://dhss.alaska.gov/dph/Epi/id/Pages/COVID-19/echo.aspx

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