COVID-19 Alaska Weekly Case Update: May 16-22, 2021

    Clinical Update Alaska Department of Health & Social Services Weekly Case Update

Brief Status Report
The statewide average daily case rate decreased to the lowest level in eight months, corresponding to an intermediate alert status for the first time since September 2020.

The decrease in average daily case rate mirrors the national decline in new cases. Although testing has decreased in recent weeks, test positivity remains low, indicating a true decline in cases.

Since January 1, 2021, >98% of all COVID-19 hospitalizations in Alaska have been among people who were unvaccinated.

Vaccination rates have slowed considerably in recent weeks; locations with lower vaccine coverage are expected to see relatively higher SARS-CoV-2 transmission rates.

There has been a steady increase in the number of infections caused by the B.1.1.7 variant of concern. Nearly 54% of Alaskans aged 16 years and older have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.

54% of the State/IHS vaccine allocation so far has been administered. Alaska is currently the twenty-sixth most vaccinated state per capita for adults aged ≥18.

As of May 12, all Alaskans aged ≥12 years are now eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. The COVID-19 vaccine is available at no cost.

Starting June 1, anyone, including nonresident tourists, arriving at the Juneau, Fairbanks, Ketchikan, or Anchorage airports will be able to get a dose of vaccine free of charge at the airport.

Case Trends and Predictions
384 cases were reported in Alaskans last week.

This is a 19% decrease from the week before.

Case rates continued to increase in the Southern Southeast region. Small increases were also seen in the YK Delta and Interior regions.

Case rates decreased in 7 of the 11 behavioral health regions this week.

The estimated statewide daily growth rate as of May 24 is -4.1% and new cases are expected to halve every 17 days based on current modeling.



Vaccination Status
Reported vaccinations as of May 24, 2021.

Anyone aged ≥12 years who lives or works in Alaska is eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine.

On May 24, Alaska was the twenty-sixth most vaccinated state per capita for adults aged ≥18 years. The Alaska vaccine dashboard is available online for more up-to-date data.

To schedule your vaccine appointment visit covidvax.alaska.gov or call 907-646-3322. The call line is staffed Monday-Friday from 9AM-6:30PM and 9AM-4:30PM on weekends.

New Cases, Hospitalizations, and Deaths

During the week of May 16 through May 22, 2021, 384 cases were reported in Alaskans. This is a 19% decrease compared to the week prior, for a total of 67,199 cases. Cumulative hospitalizations increased to 1,553 with 4 reported as occurring this week. Hospitalization reports often lag and only 1,542 hospitalizations were reported at this time last week, so there are 11 hospitalizations newly reported this week including ones that began during previous weeks. No deaths were reported this week; however, four deaths that occurred in earlier weeks are newly reported (362 total). It is common to take more than a week for a death to be reported, and deaths that occurred during May 16-May 22 may be reported in the future after death certificates are reviewed. 14 new nonresident cases were identified this week for a total of 2,800 cases.

Vaccine Breakthrough Cases

Vaccine breakthrough (VB) infections of COVID are those detected in a person who is more than 2 weeks beyond their second dose of a 2-dose series or the only dose of a 1-dose series. As of May 1, 2021, CDC changed reporting of VB cases to be only those associated with hospitalization or death. From January 1–May 17, 2021, Alaska has recorded one death and eight hospitalizations resulting from a VB infection. These counts are provisional and subject to change as more data are compiled. In that same time frame, a total of 20,618 cases, 462 hospitalizations, and 98 deaths were reported. 98.3% of all hospitalizations to date were people who are unvaccinated. Specimens from VB infections (regardless of severity) are prioritized for sequencing and described in the weekly Alaska Genomics Report CDC released an MMWR this week characterizing the current epidemiology of VB cases for the nation
Variant Tracking The most recent Alaska COVID Genomic Surveillance report was released on May 19 Cumulative totals of variants identified in Alaska:

Health Care Capacity On May 24, 17 Alaskans with confirmed COVID-19 were hospitalized and 2 were reported to require a mechanical ventilator.

Total Confirmed COVID-19 Beds Occupied

Cases by Week Reported and Age Group

Cases by Week Reported and Race Cases by Week Reported and Region

Additional informational resources: The State of Alaska COVID-19 vaccine status update page: The State of Alaska COVID-19 information page provides more information about the virus and how individuals and businesses can protect themselves and others from transmission For the most up-to-date case information, see the Alaska Coronavirus Response Hub dashboard: updated Monday – Friday at data.coronavirus.alaska.gov For DHSS media inquiries, please contact clinton.bennett@alaska.gov  

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