COVID-19 Alaska Weekly Case Update: August 22 – August 28, 2021

Alaska Weekly Update

Alaska Department of Health & Social Services Weekly Case Update
August 22 — August 28, 2021

Intermediate Statewide transmission
Rt 1.12
HIGH Statewide alert status
474.0
Limited Hospital capacityHIGH Test positivity
7.3%
60.7%
of Alaskans aged 12+ 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 28th and August 29th 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.

  • 3,525 cases were reported in Alaskans between August 22–August 28. This is a 9.1% 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.
  • In areas with substantial or high community transmission, wearing a mask when in indoor public spaces regardless of vaccination status is an important step to take to slow the spread of COVID-19. Most Alaskans live in an area with substantial or high community transmission.
  • 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 9
Alert Level
August 16
Alert Level
August 23
Alert Level
August 30
CountRateCountRateCountRateCountRate
Anchorage Municipality894309.4924319.81,169404.51,314454.7
Fairbanks North Star Borough105108.1123126.6199204.8337346.9
Juneau City and Borough59185.7122384.0154484.7142446.9
Kenai Peninsula Borough333565.0319541.3394668.5406688.9
Matanuska-Susitna Region223207.8233217.1406378.4411383.0
Nome Census Area53542.51101,126.01371,402.41291,320.5
North Slope Borough18184.2*28286.659603.868695.9
Northwest Arctic Borough29382.433435.255725.354712.1
Chugach Census Area32474.023340.742622.122325.9
Copper River Census Area8296.4*3**14518.7*14518.7*
Denali Borough7387.6*4**5**6332.2*
Southeast Fairbanks Census Area4**686.5*9129.7*24346.0
Yukon-Koyukuk Census Area9178.4*6119.0*13257.7*19376.7*
Haines Borough1**441,746.0391,547.620793.7
Petersburg Borough2**0**1**8250.9*
Sitka City and Borough52610.132375.553621.832375.5
Skagway Municipality2**4**5**3**
Wrangell City and Borough4**4**14588.5*22924.8
Yakutat plus Hoonah-Angoon0**0**5**4**
Ketchikan Gateway Borough59431.483606.975548.497709.2
Prince of Wales-Hyder Census Area16262.7*23377.735574.721344.8
Bethel Census Area40223.942235.1113632.4147822.7
Kusilvak Census Area19234.9*15185.5*40494.635432.7
Aleutians East Borough12410.3*5**3**3**
Aleutians West Census Area1**3**11198.4*8144.3*
Dillingham Census Area14293.3*16335.2*37775.238796.1
Kodiak Island Borough88697.872570.990713.766523.4
Bristol Bay plus Lake and Peninsula1**4**2**5**
Statewide2,086286.22,285313.53,180436.33,455474.0

*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 31
Aleutians East Borough88.0%
Aleutians West Census Area73.5%
Anchorage Municipality64.6%
Bethel Census Area76.7%
Bristol Bay plus Lake and Peninsula90.8 %
Denali Borough70.4%
Dillingham Census Area62.2%
Fairbanks North Star Borough52.4%
Haines Borough73.1%
Juneau City and Borough83.0%
Kenai Peninsula Borough50.4%
Ketchikan Gateway Borough69.3%
Kodiak Island Borough70.2%
Kusilvak Census Area81.3%
Matanuska-Susitna Borough43.5%
Nome Census Area83.6%
North Slope Borough39.8%
Northwest Arctic Borough67.7%
Petersburg Borough66.9%
Prince of Wales-Hyder Census Area68.5%
Sitka City and Borough82.2%
Skagway Municipality85.7%
Southeast Fairbanks Census Area35.4%
Valdez-Cordova Census Area64.5%
Wrangell City and Borough65.0%
Yakutat plus Hoonah-Angoon79.2%
Yukon-Koyukuk Census Area81.4%
Statewide60.7%

New Hospitalizations and Deaths

  • Cumulative hospitalizations increased by 52 to 1,976. Hospitalization reports often lag when a case was initially reported.
  • 16.5% of hospitalized patients in Alaska had COVID-19 as of August 31, 2021.
  • On August 28th, there were 151 persons with COVID-19 in AK hospitals, which is a 14.4% increase relative to the week before when there were 132 persons hospitalized.
  • The cumulative number of COVID-19 deaths among Alaska residents increased by 21 to 427. It is common to take some time for a death to be reported and verified, and deaths that occurred during August 22–August 28 may be reported in the future after death certificates are reviewed.

Total Confirmed COVID Beds Occupied

Variant Tracking

Variants of ConcernCases IdentifiedChange from Previous ReportFirst Identified in Alaska
Alpha (B.1.1.7)451+120 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)1196+23830 May 2021
 
Variants of InterestCases IdentifiedChange from Previous ReportFirst Identified in Alaska
Epsilon (B.1.427/429)139-124 December 2020
Eta (B.1.525)1016 March 2021
Iota (B.1.526)2404 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.
  • The updated VB data are among Alaskans aged 12+ with a specimen collection date from January 16th through August 28th. 
  • From January 16–August 28, 2021, 16 deaths, 85 hospitalizations, and 5,162 cases with a VB infection were reported among Alaska residents aged 12+. These counts are provisional and subject to change as more data are compiled. In that same time frame, a total of 29,184 cases, 802 hospitalizations, and 121 deaths were reported.
  • 82% of all cases, 89% of all hospitalizations, and 87% of deaths among Alaska residents age 12 and up from January 16 through August 28, 2021 were in people who were not fully vaccinated. 
  • Specimens from VB infections are described in the weekly Alaska Genomics Report. More detailed information about hospitalizations, deaths, and vaccine breakthrough infections among Alaskan residents can also be found in the monthly report.

COVID-19 Communication Resources

DHSS offers support for one-time or reoccurring COVID-19 vaccination events. Submit your request for support and provide information about the event by filling out this form.

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:

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

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