State of Alaska COVID-19 Response and Recovery: Health Advisory No. 2 International and Interstate Travel

On February 14, the State of Alaska issued four new Health Advisories.

Health Advisory No. 2 addresses International and Interstate Travel. To mitigate the transmission and control the spread of the COVID-19 virus, testing is strongly recommended. Testing related to travel is free of charge for Alaska residents and non-resident travelers.

Alaska resident and non-resident travelers arriving in Alaska from outside the state should consider one of the following options:

  1. Pre-travel molecular- based test with negative results taken within 72 hours of departure, enter results into the Alaska Travel Portal, take a second test taken between five and 14 days after arrival at the Sitka Rocky Gutierrez Airport (testing hours 5:30pm to 6:30pm daily)
  2. Pre-travel molecular-based test without results taken within 72 hours of departure, enter proof of taking test, follow strict social distancing until test results are available, upload test results into Alaska Travel Portal when received, obtain a second test between five and 14 days after arrival at the Sitka Rocky Gutierrez Airport (testing hours 5:30pm to 6:30pm daily)
  3. If a non-resident traveler arrives in Alaska without proof of a pre-travel test, they should test at the Sitka Rocky Gutierrez Airport upon arrival, follow strict social distancing until test results are available, and obtain a second test between five and 14 days after arrival.

For Alaska residents who travel outside of Alaska for less than 72 hours, the traveler should obtain a test upon return to Alaska at the Sitka Rocky Gutierrez Airport and self-monitor for any symptoms for 14 days after arrival.

For Alaska residents and non-resident travelers, with a prior confirmed positive result 90 days of departure, a test is not needed if the traveler provide proof of a previously positive test within 90 days of departure AND the traveler is currently asymptomatic.

Fully-vaccinated travelers should follow pre-travel testing protocols, but do not need to follow strict social distancing while they are awaiting test results.  Fully-vaccinated is defined as more than two weeks following receipt of the second dose in a two-dose series, or more than two weeks following receipts of one dose of a single-dose series.

To read Health Advisory No. 2 in its entirety, visit: https://covid19.alaska.gov/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/02.14.21-Health-Advisory-2-International-and-Interstate-Travel.pdf

For the complete list of COVID-19 Response and Recovery Health Advisories, visit: https://covid19.alaska.gov/health-advisories/

Alaska Department of Health & Social Services Weekly Case Update for February 7–13, 2021

Statewide transmission DecreasingStatewide alert status HIGHHospital
capacity
Adequate
Test
positivity
Moderate
23.3% of Alaskan adults vaccinated
Red- quickly increasing, Rt>1.2

Orange- increasing, Rt 1-1.2

Yellow-decreasing, Rt<1
Red- 14-day average case rate per 100,000 people >10 Orange- 5-10 Yellow- <5Red- <3 weeks until beyond capacity Orange- 3-6 weeks Yellow- >6 weeksRed->5% Orange- 2-5% Yellow- <2%At least one shot. Estimated AK population 18 and older of 551,585 from census.gov

Brief status report

  • Virus transmission continues to slowly decrease across most areas of Alaska, although Western Alaska case rates remain high.
  • Vaccination of Alaskans continues. Supply remains the main limiting factor.
  • Alaska is currently the most vaccinated state per capita.
  • DHSS encourages all Alaskans who are currently eligible for COVID-19 vaccination to make appointments as soon as possible by visiting covidvax.alaska.gov or by calling 1-907-646-3322. The call line is now staffed Monday-Friday from 9AM-6:30PM and 9AM-4:30PM on weekends. Eligibility information can be found at covidvax.alaska.gov. Alaskans receiving health services through a Tribal Health Organization or the Department of Defense should contact those organizations directly to determine their eligibility.
  • Alaska continues to monitor for new variants of concern.

What Alaskans can do

  • Every Alaskan who chooses to wear a mask, stay 6 feet from others, and avoid indoor gatherings helps protect themselves and the health of all Alaskans.
  • New virus strains may be more transmissible. Wearing well-fitting masks, distancing, vaccination, avoiding gatherings, following all travel requirements, and other mitigation measures are our best tools to decrease the chance of the new variant entering Alaska and spreading.
  • To stop COVID-19, including new strains of virus, from coming into Alaska and spreading, testing within 72 hours before returning to Alaska or on arrival and then strict social distancing until the test result is available is recommended. A second test 5-14 days after arrival is also recommended if the traveler is not fully vaccinated. As of Jan 26, 2021, the CDC requires international travelers to show proof of a negative test from within the last 72 hours on arrival back in the US.
  • CDC guidelines recommend regular asymptomatic testing for critical infrastructure workers and other groups at higher risk for COVID-19.
  • Alaskans should get tested immediately at the first sign of any symptoms. Tests work best when obtained promptly after symptoms start. Testing early helps people know if they are positive quickly and helps prompt them to take immediate precautions to minimize the risk of transmitting the virus to others.
  • Most Alaskans get COVID-19 from a friend, family member, or coworker. Many Alaskans who are diagnosed with COVID-19 report that they went to social gatherings, community events, church services, and other social venues while they were contagious but before they knew they had the virus.
  • Alaskans should avoid indoor gatherings with non-household members, avoid crowds, wear masks when around non-household members, and stay 6 feet from anyone not in their household.
COVID-19 Alaska Weekly Update

Case trends and predictions

  • 1,121 new cases were reported in Alaskans last week. This is a 11% increase from the week before and still reflects continued high-level community transmission throughout much of Alaska.
  • 14-day average daily case rates were similar or slightly decreased in most regions of Alaska compared with last week. Mat-Su Region had a larger increase from 24.3 to 36.2. The Southwest and Southern Southeast regions also saw increases, from 20 to 27 and 6 to 11, respectively.
  • The highest case rates continue to be seen in the Yukon-Kuskokwim Region, but a substantial decrease was seen over the last week from 119.7 to 61.9..
  • The estimated statewide daily growth rate as of February 16, 2021 is -1.5% and new cases are expected to halve every 47 days based on current modeling, about half as slow as last week.
COVID-19 Alaska Weekly Update

Regional case trends

Behavioral Health RegionCase rates Jan 3–
Jan 9
Case rates Jan 10– Jan 16Case rates Jan 17– Jan 23Case rates Jan 24– Jan 30Case rates Jan 31– Feb 6Case rates Feb 7– Feb 13
Anchorage Municipality39.531.922.818.616.514.7
Fairbanks North Star Borough39.342.129.916.814.012.3
Interior Region except Fairbanks27.126.823.819.518.922.4
Juneau City and Borough7.47.811.813.913.07.0
Kenai Peninsula Borough19.219.613.68.95.46.1
Matanuska-Susitna Region48.240.723.821.624.336.2
Northern Southeast Region7.714.710.14.54.94.2
Northwest Region46.669.051.321.49.16.6
Southern Southeast Region10.09.05.04.36.111.2
Southwest Region35.841.035.125.520.327.0
Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta Region152.8136.3155.8131.9119.761.9
Statewide39.836.728.921.519.318.1

Vaccines status update

COVID-19 Alaska Weekly Update
Reported vaccinations as of February 16, 2020.

  • The State of Alaska is working with federal, local, Tribal, and military partners to ensure that the distribution of vaccine goes as quickly and smoothly as possible.
  • Currently eligible groups for vaccination include those in Phase 1a: healthcare workers and residents in nursing homes, and those in Phase 1b Tier 1, Alaskans aged 65 or older. Other groups in Phase 1b may not register at this time but may register as soon as vaccination opens for their phase and tier. All registration for vaccines should go through the registration system on covidvax.alaska.gov , which also has an eligibility tool for any Alaskan unsure of when they can receive the vaccine. All updates on phases and tiers will be posted on that website and new appointments are added on a continuous basis; Alaskans are encouraged to check it frequently.
  • A limited amount of vaccine is currently available with more expected to be delivered in the coming months. As of February 16th, more than 128,000 Alaskans had received at least one COVID-19 vaccine and more than 65,000 had received both doses. On February 16, the New York Times vaccination tracker had Alaska leading all other states in the percent of the population that has received at least one shot, at 18%, and two shots, at 8.3%. The Alaska vaccine tracker is available online as is a vaccine dashboard for more up-to-date data.
  • There is a several day lag in reporting some vaccinations so the dashboard does not yet reflect all vaccinations that have been given. All vaccines allocated to Alaska for December and January have been distributed.
  • There are no plans to mandate a vaccine at the state level.
  • The national Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) is responsible for providing national recommendations for vaccine administration and allocation.

New cases, hospitalizations, and deaths

  • During the week of February 6 through 13, 2021, 1,121 new Alaska cases were reported, an 11% increase from last week, for a total of 54,590 cumulative cases in Alaskans.
  • Cumulative hospitalizations increased to 1,199 with 6 reported as occurring this week. Hospitalization reports often lag and only 1,187 hospitalizations were reported at this time last week, so there are 12 hospitalizations newly reported this week including ones that began during previous weeks.
  • Deaths among Alaska residents increased by 8 (285 total). All deaths occurred prior to this past week. It is common to take more than a week for a death to be reported, and more deaths that occurred during Feb 6–13 may be reported in future as death certificates are reviewed.
  • 197 new nonresident cases were identified this week, for a total of 2,177 cases.
COVID-19 Alaska Weekly Update

Health care capacity

  • On February 16, 28 Alaskans with confirmed COVID-19 were hospitalized and 2 were reported to require a mechanical ventilator.
  • Hospital staffing can change quickly, particularly if a community has many health workers impacted by COVID-19.

Total Confirmed COVID-19 Beds Occupied

COVID-19 Alaska Weekly Update

Additional informational resources:

For DHSS media inquiries, please contact clinton.bennett@alaska.gov

State of Alaska COVID-19 Response and Recovery: Health Advisory No. 1

The State of Alaska has issued four new Health Advisories.

Health Advisory No. 1 speaks to recommendations for keeping Alaskans safe. Containing the virus that causes COVID-19 cannot be done through community measures alone; Alaskans must take individual responsibility to protect themselves, their loved ones, and their community. The primary ways to do this are:

•Wearing a cloth face covering/mask when in public settings and when you are around people outside your household.

•Practicing social distancing by avoiding close contact and minimizing time spent indoors with persons outside your household.

•Monitoring your health and staying at home when sick.

•Practicing good hygiene by frequently washing your hands and disinfecting high touch surfaces in your home and workplace.

Throughout the pandemic, Sitkans have done an outstanding job pulling together to keep a lid on COVID-19. Let’s keep it up!

To read Health Advisory No. 1, visit: https://covid19.alaska.gov/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/02.14.21-Health-Advisory-1-Recommendations.pdf

For the complete list of COVID-19 Response and Recovery Health Advisories, visit: https://covid19.alaska.gov/health-advisories/

Testing Is Encouraged

In accordance with Health Advisory 2, testing for COVID-19 is strongly encouraged for people traveling to Alaska.

To help contain COVID-19 and prevent variant strains from spreading to our state, test 72 hours prior to travel into Alaska, or take a free test at the airport when you arrive. A second test, taken 5-14 days after arrival, is also strongly recommended.

Travel declarations for those arriving to the state may be completed online through the Alaska Travel Portal at www.alaska.covidsecureapp.com.

Alaska state travel requirements are subject to change. Please visit www.AlaskaSafeTravels.com before your trip to confirm current regulations. For more information, contact covidinfo@alaskatia.org or 907-258-4217.

Dunleavy Administration Releases COVID-19 Transition Plan

On February 14, 2021, Governor Mike Dunleavy released a new COVID-19 recovery and transition plan to begin the process of moving Alaska to the path to normalcy while still effectively managing the virus.

The State of Alaska has issued four health advisories that address general safety, travel and critical infrastructure, with appendices focusing on the seafood industry. The advisories are based on the latest epidemiological data and expertise within the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services and outline best practices to continue mitigating the spread of COVID-19.

Governor Dunleavy will continue to follow what happens throughout Alaska and our healthcare system, and reserves the right to declare a future emergency if the data indicates stricter measures are needed to protect the health and wellbeing of Alaskans.

New State of Alaska Health Advisories:

Health Advisory 1 – Recommendations to Keep Alaskans Safe – Addresses the safety measures Alaskans can take to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. https://covid19.alaska.gov/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/02.14.21-Health-Advisory-1-Recommendations.pdf

Health Advisory 2 – International and Interstate Travel – While Alaska resident and non-resident travelers will no longer be required to have pre-travel negative tests upon arrival, it is still considered one of the best mechanisms to track the virus and prevent community spread. The existing airport testing infrastructure will remain in place to protect Alaskans and visitors alike. https://covid19.alaska.gov/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/02.14.21-Health-Advisory-2-International-and-Interstate-Travel.pdf

As a reminder, anyone positive for COVID-19 is not allowed to travel.

Health Advisory 3 – Intrastate Travel – Outlines expectations of communities for allowing travel Critical Infrastructure personnel, as well as for community members and Critical Personal needs. The advisory recommends COVID testing three days prior to travel to locations on the road system and the Alaska Marine Highway System. For locations off the road system and the Alaska Marine Highway System, a test is recommended for trips lasting longer than 72 hours before returning to a rural community. Without a test, strict social distancing should be followed. https://covid19.alaska.gov/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/02.14.21-Health-Advisory-3-Intrastate-Travel.pdf

Health Advisory 4 – Critical Infrastructure – The advisory provides clear guidance for Critical Infrastructure businesses operating in Alaska to protect both communities and industries. https://covid19.alaska.gov/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/02.14.21-Health-Advisory-4-Critical-Infrastructure.pdf

Read Governor Dunleavy’s February 14 press release at: https://gov.alaska.gov/newsroom/2021/02/14/dunleavy-administration-releases-covid-19-transition-plan/?fbclid=IwAR3q0WJcajTprrgb1MF5atWSzBkZDNyOwWEeVda_Lp7xzyrxp_6SmpGOMkc

Apply Now for Rent Relief

Are you struggling with rent and utility payments? Alaska Housing Rent Relief provides up to 12 months of rent and/or utility relief to eligible Alaskans unable to pay rent and utilities due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Even if you’ve received rent relief from AHFC in the past, you can apply to this new program! The Alaska Housing Rent Relief application period is now open. The application process is easy and confidential. Applications are available online at https://www.alaskahousingrelief.org/, or by calling or texting the word “relief” toll-free to 833-440-0420. Applications will be accepted until at 11:59 p.m., Friday, March 5.

Check your eligibility and apply today at: https://www.alaskahousingrelief.org/renters

COVID-19 Alert Level Shifts to Low

Way to go, Sitka! Our COVID-19 Alert Level has shifted from Moderate to Low! Keep up the great work!

February 12, 2021

The following mitigation guidance is recommended:

•Masks/face coverings recommended when 6 feet of distance can’t be maintained from others
•Maintain physical distancing of 6 feet
•Limit gathering size so a minimum of 6 feet can be maintained
•Restaurants: delivery or carryout preferred

Stay informed by visiting the CBS COVID-19 Dashboard at https://cityofsitka.org/.

Alaska Housing Rent Relief

Alaska Housing Finance Corporation will administer up to $200 million in federal funds to eligible Alaskan renters through an application process.

The application period will open February 16th. To learn more about the program, check your eligibility, and pre-register for an application, visit: https://www.alaskahousingrelief.org/renters

For direct assistance, call or text “relief” to (833) 440-0420 toll free.

Alaska Department of Health & Social Services Weekly Case Update for January 31 – February 6, 2021

 

Statewide transmission
Decreasing
Statewide alert status
HIGH
Hospital capacity
Adequate
Test
positivity
Moderate
19.8% of Alaskan adults vaccinated
Red- quickly increasing, Rt>1.2
Orange- increasing, Rt 1-1.2
Yellow-decreasing, Rt<1
Red- 14-day average case rate per 100,000 people >10
Orange- 5-10
Yellow- <5
Red- <3 weeks until beyond capacity
Orange- 3-6 weeks
Yellow- >6 weeks
Red->5%
Orange- 2-5%
Yellow- <2%
At least one shot. Estimated
AK population 18 and older of 551,585 from census.gov

Brief status report

  • Virus transmission continues to slowly decrease across most areas of Alaska, although Western Alaska case rates remain high.
  • Vaccination of Alaskans continues. Supply remains the main limiting factor.
  • Alaska is currently the most vaccinated state per capita.
  • DHSS encourages all Alaskans 65 and older to make appointments as soon as possible by visiting covidvax.alaska.gov or by calling 1-907-646-3322. The call line is now staffed Monday-Friday from 9AM-6:30PM and 9AM-4:30PM on weekends.
  • Alaskans under age 65 who are not healthcare workers or residents in nursing homes may not register for appointments at this time. Alaskans receiving health services through a Tribal Health Organization or the Department of Defense should contact those organizations directly to determine their eligibility.
  • Alaska continues to monitor for new variants of concern. One travel-related case of the B.1.1.7 variant, which was first identified in the UK in December and is thought to be more transmissible than other strains, has been found in Alaska.
  • The Alaska Coronavirus Response Hub has moved and is now located at data.coronavirus.alaska.gov. The Hub is updated Monday – Friday; Monday updates contain case data reported over the preceding weekend.

What Alaskans can do

  • Every Alaskan who chooses to wear a mask, stay 6 feet from others, and avoid indoor gatherings helps protect themselves and the health of all Alaskans.
  • New virus strains may be more transmissible. Wearing well-fitting masks, distancing, vaccination, avoiding gatherings, following all travel requirements, and other mitigation measures are our best tools to decrease the chance of the new variant entering Alaska and spreading.
  • Alaska Health Order 6 requires a test within 72 hours before arrival and strict social distancing for five days on arrival to Alaska. To stop new strains of virus from coming into Alaska and spreading, testing 1–3 days before travel, staying home for 7 days after travel and testing again 3–5 days after travel as laid out in the new CDC guidelines for international and domestic travel is highly encouraged. As of Jan 26, 2021, the CDC requires international travelers to show proof of a negative test from within the last 72 hours on arrival back in the US. The international test required by the CDC does not necessarily replace the test required for travel to Alaska, and travelers to Alaska are encouraged to be sure to obtain the correct type of test.
  • CDC guidelines recommend regular asymptomatic testing for critical infrastructure workers and other groups at higher risk for COVID-19.
  • Alaskans should get tested immediately at the first sign of any symptoms. Tests work best when obtained promptly after symptoms start. Testing early helps people know if they are positive quickly and helps prompt them to take immediate precautions to minimize the risk of transmitting the virus to others.
  • Most Alaskans get COVID-19 from a friend, family member, or coworker. Many Alaskans who are diagnosed with COVID-19 report that they went to social gatherings, community events, church services, and other social venues while they were contagious but before they knew they had the virus.
  • Alaskans should avoid indoor gatherings with non-household members, avoid crowds, wear masks when around non-household members, and stay 6 feet from anyone not in their household.
COVID-19 Alaska Weekly Update

Case trends and predictions

  • 1,007 new cases were reported in Alaskans last week. This is a 5% increase from the week before and still reflects continued high-level community transmission throughout much of Alaska.
  • 14-day average daily case rates were similar or slightly decreased in most regions of Alaska compared with last week; Mat-Su Region had a small increase from 21.6 to 24.3 and Northwest Region had a larger decrease from 21.4 to 9.1.
  • The highest case rates continue to be seen in the Yukon-Kuskokwim Region, with a slight decrease over the last week 131.9 to 119.7. The Kenai, Northwest and Southern Southeast regions have moved into an intermediate alert level and the Northern Southeast region remains in a low alert level, while other regions of Alaska and the state overall continue to have high community transmission and are at a high alert level.  
  • The estimated statewide daily growth rate as of February 8, 2021 is -2.95% and new cases are expected to halve every 24 days based on current modeling, slightly faster than last week.
COVID-19 Alaska Weekly Update

Regional case trends

Behavioral Health RegionCase rates
Dec 20– Jan 2
Case rates
Jan 3– Jan 9
Case rates
Jan 10– Jan 16
Case rates
Jan 17– Jan 23
Case rates
Jan 24– Jan 30
Case rates
Jan 24– Jan 30
Anchorage Municipality40.039.531.922.818.616.5
Fairbanks North Star Borough32.639.342.129.916.814.0
Interior Region except Fairbanks23.827.126.823.819.518.9
Juneau City and Borough13.67.47.811.813.913.0
Kenai Peninsula Borough22.319.219.613.68.95.4
Matanuska-Susitna Region48.248.240.723.821.624.3
Northern Southeast Region7.07.714.710.14.54.9
Northwest Region25.346.669.051.321.49.1
Southern Southeast Region6.110.09.05.04.36.1
Southwest Region42.535.841.035.125.520.3
Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta Region144.2152.8136.3155.8131.9119.7
Statewide38.639.836.728.921.519.3

Vaccines status update

COVID-19 Alaska Weekly Update
 Reported vaccinations as of February 5, 2020.

  • The State of Alaska is working with federal, local, Tribal, and military partners to ensure that the distribution of vaccine goes as quickly and smoothly as possible.
  • Currently eligible groups for vaccination include those in Phase 1a: healthcare workers and residents in nursing homes, and those in Phase 1b Tier 1, Alaskans aged 65 or older. Other groups in Phase 1b may not register at this time but may register as soon as vaccination opens for their phase and tier. All registration for vaccines should go through the registration system on covidvax.alaska.gov , which also has an eligibility tool for any Alaskan unsure of when they can receive the vaccine. All updates on phases and tiers will be posted on that website and new appointments are added on a continuous basis; Alaskans are encouraged to check it frequently.
  • The State of Alaska vaccine allocation of 119,100 does not include Tribal or military allocations, which are separate. The IHS allocation includes an additional 55,300 vaccines and is tracked on the dashboard, which also notes vaccinations by behavioral health region.
  • A limited amount of vaccine is currently available with more expected to be delivered in the coming months. As of February 6th, more than 109,000 Alaskans had received at least one COVID-19 vaccine and more than 43,000 had received both doses. On February 8, the New York Times vaccination tracker had Alaska leading all other states in the percent of the population that has received at least one shot, at 15%, and second only to West Virginia for percent of people given two shots, at 5.6% to West Virginia’s 5.8%. The Alaska vaccine tracker is available online as is a vaccine dashboard for more up-to-date data.
  • There is a several day lag in reporting some vaccinations so the dashboard does not yet reflect all vaccinations that have been given. All vaccines allocated to Alaska for December and January have been distributed.
  • There are no plans to mandate a vaccine at the state level.
  • The national Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) is responsible for providing national recommendations for vaccine administration and allocation.

New cases, hospitalizations, and deaths

  • During the week of January 31 through February 6, 2021, 1,007 new Alaska cases were reported, a 5% increase from last week, for a total of 53,694 cumulative cases in Alaskans.
  • Cumulative hospitalizations increased to 1,187 with 0 reported as occurring this week. Hospitalization reports often lag and only 1,179 hospitalizations were reported at this time last week, so there are 8 hospitalizations newly reported this week including ones that began during previous weeks.
  • Deaths among Alaska residents increased by 17 (277 total). All deaths occurred prior to this past week. It is common to take more than a week for a death to be reported, and more deaths that occurred during Jan 31–Feb 6 may be reported in future as death certificates are reviewed.
  • 227 new nonresident cases were identified this week, for a total of 1,980 cases.
COVID-19 Alaska Weekly Update

Health care capacity

  • On February 8, 41 Alaskans with confirmed COVID-19 were hospitalized and 11 were reported to have required a mechanical ventilator.
  • Hospital staffing can change quickly, particularly if a community has many health workers impacted by COVID-19.

Total Confirmed COVID-19 Beds Occupied

COVID-19 Alaska Weekly Update

Cases by Week Reported and Age Group

COVID-19 Alaska Weekly Update

Additional informational resources:

For DHSS media inquiries, please contact clinton.bennett@alaska.gov