COVID-19 Alaska Weekly Case Update: August 15 – August 21, 2021

Alaska Weekly Update

Alaska Department of Health & Social Services Weekly Case Update
August 15 — August 21, 2021

Intermediate Statewide transmission
Rt 1.15
HIGH Statewide alert status
436.3
Limited Hospital capacityHIGH Test positivity
6.5%
60.00%
Alaskans 12 years and older are vaccinated
Red- Rt >1.2
Orange- Rt 1-1.2 Yellow- Rt <1
7-day case rate per 100,000 population. Red-  ≥100
Orange- 50-99.99
Yellow- 10-49.99
Blue- 0-9.99  
Multiple hospitals in Anchorage were at surge capacity the weekend of August 21st and August 22nd due to high volumes of both COVID and non-COVID patients.Red->5%
Orange- 2-5%
Yellow- <2%
This includes people with at least one dose. Estimated AK population 12 and older of 607,022 from the AK Department of Labor & Workforce Development.

Case Trends

  • The number of reported COVID-19 cases in Alaska continued last week on an upwards trajectory.

  • 3,232 cases were reported in Alaskans between August 15–August 21. This is a 47.4% increase from the week before.
  • Cases remain high or are increasing in most parts of the state on the road system (including Kenai Peninsula Borough, Anchorage, Matanuska-Susitna Borough, and Fairbanks North Star Borough).
  • While the intensity of COVID-19 transmission varies substantially between communities off the road system, COVID-19 cases are regularly reported from nearly all boroughs and census areas.
  • The Delta variant has become the dominant SARS-CoV-2 variant in Alaska. This variant transmits more easily than other variants.

COVID-19 Guidance

  • Currently available COVID vaccines will help protect you, your family, and your community against COVID-19, including the Delta variant. Getting vaccinated now is more important than ever.
  • If you do test positive, isolate right away, and notify your contacts. Ask them to get tested and, if they are unvaccinated, to quarantine.
  • Monoclonal antibody treatments are effective and reduce the risk of hospitalization. If you have COVID-19 or are a close contact, talk to a healthcare provider about whether treatment may be right for you. The treatments work best when given early.
  • CDC recommends that all persons in areas with substantial or high community transmission wear a mask when in indoor public spaces, regardless of vaccination status. Most Alaskans live in an area with substantial or high community transmission as classified by the CDC.
  • Fully vaccinated persons who are close contacts to someone with COVID-19 do not need to quarantine but should get tested 3 to 5 days after exposure and wear a mask in public indoor areas for 14 days or until they receive a negative test result.

Borough/Census Area Alert Level Trends

  • Alert levels are based on the case counts over the past 7 days as well as the daily number of reported cases over the past 7 days per 100,000 population.
  • Alert levels have been changed to more closely mirror CDC’s community transmission indicator and are calculated by borough and census area, rather than by region.
Borough/Census AreaAlert Level
August 2
Alert Level
August 9
Alert Level
August 16
Alert Level
August 23
CountRateCountRateCountRateCountRate
Anchorage Municipality727251.6894309.4924319.81,169404.5
Fairbanks North Star Borough102105.0105108.1123126.6199204.8
Juneau City and Borough76239.259185.7122384.0154484.7
Kenai Peninsula Borough210356.3333565.0319541.3394668.5
Matanuska-Susitna Region166154.7223207.8233217.1406378.4
Nome Census Area16163.8*53542.51101,126.01371,402.4
North Slope Borough881.9*18184.2*28286.659603.8
Northwest Arctic Borough27356.129382.433435.255725.3
Chugach Census Area54799.932474.023340.742622.1
Copper River Census Area17629.9*8296.4*3**14518.7*
Denali Borough1**7387.6*4**5**
Southeast Fairbanks Census Area14201.8*4**686.5*9129.7*
Yukon-Koyukuk Census Area6119.0*9178.4*6119.0*13257.7*
Haines Borough0**1**441,746.0391,547.6
Petersburg Borough0**2**0**1**
Sitka City and Borough911,067.752610.132375.553621.8
Skagway Municipality3**2**4**5**
Wrangell City and Borough3**4**4**14588.5*
Yakutat plus Hoonah-Angoon1**0**0**5**
Ketchikan Gateway Borough24175.559431.483606.975548.4
Prince of Wales-Hyder Census Area38624.016262.7*23377.735574.7
Bethel Census Area50279.840223.942235.1113632.4
Kusilvak Census Area19234.9*19234.9*15185.5*40494.6
Aleutians East Borough1**12410.3*5**3**
Aleutians West Census Area9162.3*1**3**11198.4*
Dillingham Census Area4**14293.3*16335.2*37775.2
Kodiak Island Borough35277.588697.872570.990713.7
Bristol Bay plus Lake and Peninsula3**1**4**2**
Statewide1,705233.92,086286.22,285313.53,180436.3
  • *Rates based on <20 observations are statistically unreliable and should be used with caution.
  • **Rates based on <6 observations are not reported.

Vaccination Status

  • Anyone aged 12+ in Alaska is eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine.
  • If you have received an initial dose of the Pfizer or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine, be sure to get your second dose too. Scientific studies have shown that two doses of an mRNA vaccine are more effective than one dose of an mRNA vaccine, especially against emerging variants of concern.
  • CDC recommends that people with moderately to severely compromised immune systems receive an additional dose of mRNA COVID-19 vaccine at least 28 days after a second dose of an mRNA vaccine.
  • Vaccinated persons with immunocompromising conditions should discuss with their health care providers the need for additional personal protective measures.
  • To schedule your vaccine appointment visit covidvax.alaska.gov or call 907-646-3322.
  • To find clinics in your area you can visit vaccines.gov or text your zip code to GETVAX (438829) in English, or VACUNA (822862) for Spanish.
  • The Alaska vaccine dashboard is available online for the most up-to-date data.

Borough/Census Area Vaccination Coverage

  • This is the percent of Alaskans aged 12+ who received one or more doses of vaccine.
Borough/Census AreaAugust 24
Aleutians East Borough88.4%
Aleutians West Census Area73.4%
Anchorage Municipality64.1%
Bethel Census Area76.1%
Bristol Bay plus Lake and Peninsula91.0%
Denali Borough69.8%
Dillingham Census Area61.3%
Fairbanks North Star Borough51.7%
Haines Borough72.7%
Juneau City and Borough80.9%
Kenai Peninsula Borough49.8%
Ketchikan Gateway Borough68.9%
Kodiak Island Borough69.3%
Kusilvak Census Area80.3%
Matanuska-Susitna Borough42.6%
Nome Census Area83.3%
North Slope Borough39.6%
Northwest Arctic Borough66.1%
Petersburg Borough66.9%
Prince of Wales-Hyder Census Area68.8%
Sitka City and Borough79.7%
Skagway Municipality84.8%
Southeast Fairbanks Census Area34.4%
Valdez-Cordova Census Area64.5%
Wrangell City and Borough63.9%
Yakutat plus Hoonah-Angoon79.2%
Yukon-Koyukuk Census Area80.4%
Statewide60.0%

New Hospitalizations and Deaths

  • Cumulative hospitalizations increased by 111 to 1,924. Hospitalization reports often lag when a case was initially reported.
  • 13.1% of hospitalized patients in Alaska had COVID-19 as of August 24, 2021.
  • On August 21, there were 132 persons with COVID-19 in AK hospitals, which is a 13.8% increase relative to the week before when there were 116 persons hospitalized.
  • The cumulative number of COVID-19 deaths among Alaska residents increased by 11 to 406. It is common to take some time for a death to be reported and verified, and deaths that occurred during August 15–August 21 may be reported in the future after death certificates are reviewed.

Total Confirmed COVID Beds

Variant Tracking

Variants of ConcernCases IdentifiedChange from Previous ReportFirst Identified in Alaska
Alpha (B.1.1.7)450020 December 2020
Beta (B.1.351)7020 March 2021
Gamma (P.1/P.1.1/P.1.2)7408 February 2021
Delta (B.1.617.2-like)958+8230 May 2021
 
Variants of InterestCases IdentifiedChange from Previous ReportFirst Identified in Alaska
Epsilon (B.1.427/429)140024 December 2020
Eta (B.1.525)1016 March 2021
Iota (B.1.526)24+24 February 2021
Zeta (P.2)4027 January 2021

Vaccine Breakthrough Cases

  • Vaccine breakthrough (VB) infections of COVID-19 are those detected in a person who is at least 2 weeks beyond their second dose of a 2-dose series or the only dose of a 1-dose series.
  • From January 1–August 21, 2021, 15 deaths, 76 hospitalizations, and 3,735 cases with a VB infection were reported among Alaska residents. These counts are provisional and subject to change as more data are compiled. In that same time frame, a total of 34,040 cases, 837 hospitalizations, and 137 deaths were reported.
  • 89% of all cases, 91% of all hospitalizations, and 89% of deaths among Alaska residents from January 1 through August 21, 2021 were in people who were not fully vaccinated. 
  • Specimens from VB infections are described in the weekly Alaska Genomics Report.

COVID-19 Communication Resources

Statewide Percentage of Daily Tests with Positive Results
(Seven day rolling average)

Cases by Week of Onset and Age

Cases by Week of Onset and Race

Additional informational resources:

  • 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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