COVID-19 Alaska Weekly Case Update: August 29 – September 4, 2021

Alaska Weekly Update

Alaska Department of Health & Social Services Weekly Case Update
August 29 — September 4, 2021

Intermediate Statewide transmission
Rt 1.10
HIGH Statewide alert status
558.0
HIGH ALERT Hospital capacityHIGH Test positivity
8.07%
61.3%
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.

  • 4,112 cases were reported in Alaskans between August 29–September 4. This is a 16.7% increase from the week before.
  • Cases remain high or are increasing in most parts of the state on the road system. Per capita incidence rates in Matanuska-Susitna Borough and Fairbanks North Star Borough area catching up to or exceeding those in Anchorage and the Kenai Peninsula Borough. Rates in Juneau are similarly high as well.  
  • 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 16
Alert Level
August 23
Alert Level
August 30
Alert Level
September 7
CountRateCountRateCountRateCountRate
Anchorage Municipality924319.81,169404.51,314454.71,399484.1
Fairbanks North Star Borough123126.6199204.8337346.9537552.7
Juneau City and Borough122384.0154484.7142446.9158497.3
Kenai Peninsula Borough319541.3394668.5406688.9471799.2
Matanuska-Susitna Region233217.1406378.4411383.0667621.6
Nome Census Area1101,126.01371,402.41291,320.524245.7
North Slope Borough28286.659603.868695.91982,026.4
Northwest Arctic Borough33435.255725.354712.158764.9
Chugach Census Area23340.742622.122325.921311.1
Copper River Census Area3**14518.7*14518.7*23852.2
Denali Borough4**5**6332.2*10553.7*
Southeast Fairbanks Census Area686.5*9129.7*24346.022317.1
Yukon-Koyukuk Census Area6119.0*13257.7*19376.7*23456.0
Haines Borough441,746.0391,547.620793.79357.1*
Petersburg Borough0**1**8250.9*4**
Sitka City and Borough32375.553621.832375.513152.5*
Skagway Municipality4**5**3**1**
Wrangell City and Borough4**14588.5*22924.86252.2*
Yakutat plus Hoonah-Angoon0**5**4**4**
Ketchikan Gateway Borough83606.975548.497709.288643.4
Prince of Wales-Hyder Census Area23377.735574.721344.838624.0
Bethel Census Area42235.1113632.4147822.7110615.6
Kusilvak Census Area15185.5*40494.635432.734420.4
Aleutians East Borough5**3**3**9307.7*
Aleutians West Census Area3**11198.4*8144.3*20360.8
Dillingham Census Area16335.2*37775.238796.1641,340.9
Kodiak Island Borough72570.990713.766523.449388.5
Bristol Bay plus Lake and Peninsula4**2**5**7289.3*
Statewide2,285313.53,180436.33,455474.04,067558.0

*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 years 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 years who received one or more doses of vaccine.
Borough/Census AreaSeptember 7
Aleutians East Borough88.1%
Aleutians West Census Area74.1%
Anchorage Municipality65.2%
Bethel Census Area77.5%
Bristol Bay plus Lake and Peninsula91.2%
Denali Borough71.1%
Dillingham Census Area63.5%
Fairbanks North Star Borough53.2%
Haines Borough73.3%
Juneau City and Borough83.5%
Kenai Peninsula Borough51.0%
Ketchikan Gateway Borough69.9%
Kodiak Island Borough70.8%
Kusilvak Census Area81.6%
Matanuska-Susitna Borough44.1%
Nome Census Area83.8%
North Slope Borough40.1%
Northwest Arctic Borough66.8%
Petersburg Borough67.8%
Prince of Wales-Hyder Census Area68.9%
Sitka City and Borough82.5%
Skagway Municipality86.7%
Southeast Fairbanks Census Area35.9%
Valdez-Cordova Census Area64.9%
Wrangell City and Borough65.0%
Yakutat plus Hoonah-Angoon79.5%
Yukon-Koyukuk Census Area81.9%
Statewide61.3%

New Hospitalizations and Deaths

  • Cumulative hospitalizations increased by 83 to 2,059. Hospitalization reports often lag when a case was initially reported.
  • 20.9% of hospitalized patients in Alaska had COVID-19 as of September 7, 2021.
  • On September 4th, there were 169 persons with COVID-19 in AK hospitals, which is an 11.9% increase relative to the week before when there were 151 persons hospitalized.
  • The cumulative number of COVID-19 deaths among Alaska residents increased by 10 to 437. It is common to take some time for a death to be reported and verified, and deaths that occurred during August 29–September 4 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)452+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)1438+24230 May 2021
 
Variants of InterestCases IdentifiedChange from Previous ReportFirst Identified in Alaska
Epsilon (B.1.427/429)139024 December 2020
Eta (B.1.525)1016 March 2021
Iota (B.1.526)2404 February 2021
Mu (B.1.621)147+16 May 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 Alaska residents aged ≥12 years with a specimen collection date from January 16–September 4, 2021.
  • From January 16–September 4, 2021, 17 deaths, 105 hospitalizations, and 6,378 cases with a VB infection were reported among Alaska residents aged ≥12 years. These counts are provisional and subject to change as data are compiled and reviewed. In that same time frame, a total of 33,039 cases, 894 hospitalizations, and 131 deaths were reported.
  • 81% of all cases, 88% of all hospitalizations, and 87% of deaths among Alaska residents aged ≥12 years from January 16–September 4, 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.
  • Age-adjusted per capita rates of COVID-19 cases by vaccination status are updated weekly. Many COVID-19 cases with specimen collection in the immediate past week (indicated by the grey box) have not yet been reported or counted.

  • Age-adjusted per capita rates of COVID-19 hospitalizations by vaccination status are updated monthly. Alaska residents who are fully vaccinated are much less likely to be hospitalized due to COVID-19 than those who are not fully vaccinated.

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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