COVID-19 Alaska Weekly Case Update: December 19 — December 25, 2021

Alaska Weekly Update

Alaska Department of Health & Social Services Weekly Case Update
December 19 — December 25, 2021

Low Statewide transmission
Rt0.87
HIGH Statewide alert status 139.9LIMITED Hospital
capacity
Intermediate Test positivity
4.89%
67.5%
of Alaskans aged 5+ 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 facilities continue to have a high number of inpatients, which results in delays in admitting patients from emergency departments as well as other operational challenges.Red->5%
Orange- 2-5%
Yellow- <2%
This includes people with at least one dose. Estimated AK population 5 and older of 680,580 from the AK Department of Labor & Workforce Development.
  • Alaska currently has the forty-fifth highest number of cases in the last seven days per 100,000 population among the 50 states.
  • Hospital capacity has been strained during the Delta variant wave of COVID-19 such that in some hospitals, it may become difficult to care for everyone who needs care, even for non-COVID health concerns. Some care may need to be delayed, there may be long wait times, and hospital beds may not be available.  
    • Hospitalizations are continuing to occur in younger Alaskans, with the median age of persons hospitalized due to COVID-19 in 2021 being about 5 years younger than in 2020.
    • Among those hospitalized due to COVID-19 and with specimen collection dates from January 16, 2021 through December 25, 2021, unvaccinated and partially vaccinated patients had a median age 14 years younger than fully vaccinated patients.

  • Substantial or high levels of COVID-19 transmission are occurring throughout much of Alaska and dozens of Alaskans are hospitalized with COVID-19 each week.
  • 1,076 cases were reported in Alaskans the week of December 19–December 25. This is a 0.75% increase from the number of cases reported the week before. Larger numbers of cases have been reported since December 25, indicating an upwards trajectory.
  • The number of new COVID-19 cases has increased in the Anchorage Municipality, Matanuska-Susitna Borough, Fairbanks North Star Borough, and the City and Borough of Juneau. All four have also experienced recent increases in percent positivity, which suggests that this pattern reflects increased incidence of COVID-19 and is not an artifact of testing. There is not a clear upwards or downwards trajectory in the Kenai Peninsula Borough.
  • The intensity of COVID-19 transmission varies substantially between communities outside the largest boroughs. COVID-19 cases are regularly reported from nearly all boroughs and census areas and some communities are experiencing widespread transmission.
  • Community transmission of the Omicron variant has been identified in Anchorage. The proportion of SARS-CoV-2 infections in Alaska currently due to the Omicron variant is unclear, but preliminary laboratory evidence suggests that the number of cases due to the Omicron variant is rapidly increasing in Alaska and contributing to the overall rise in cases.

COVID-19 Guidance

Take action now to help slow the spread of COVID-19 and preserve health care capacity.

  • Please get vaccinated if you haven’t already and get a booster dose if you are eligible (see below for more information). Currently available COVID vaccines will help protect you, your family, and your community against COVID-19.
  • 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 where this action is needed to protect your health and the health of others.
  • Continue to avoid crowds and practice social distancing – particularly when indoors.
  • Seek testing if you have any symptoms or have been exposed to an infected person. If you do test positive, isolate right away, and notify your contacts. Ask them to get tested and to quarantine. The CDC recommends people should quarantine if they are unvaccinated, more than six months out from their second mRNA dose (and not yet boosted), or more than 2 months out from their Janssen vaccine (and not yet boosted).
  • If you test positive and you’re at increased risk for severe COVID, consider obtaining monoclonal antibody treatment or oral antivirals. These have been shown to be effective treatments for reducing the risk of hospitalization. These treatments work best when given early.
  • Persons at high risk include but are not limited to persons who are elderly, immunocompromised, obese, pregnant, or have certain chronic underlying medical conditions.

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
December 6
Alert Level
December 13
Alert Level
December 20
Alert Level
December 27
CountRateCountRateCountRateCountRate
Anchorage Municipality579200.4466161.3435150.5393136.0
Fairbanks North Star Borough144148.29193.7123126.6125128.7
Juneau City and Borough59185.763198.355173.173229.8
Kenai Peninsula Borough117198.574125.672122.278132.4
Matanuska-Susitna Region286266.5217202.2181168.710799.7
Nome Census Area65665.458593.745460.619194.5*
North Slope Borough12122.8*881.9*4**661.4*
Northwest Arctic Borough74975.935461.617224.2*15197.8*
Chugach Census Area4**1**10148.1*2**
Copper River Census Area17629.9*7259.4*3**6222.3*
Denali Borough3**0**0**1**
Southeast Fairbanks Census Area4**8115.3*2**7100.9*
Yukon-Koyukuk Census Area1**3**17337.0*1**
Haines Borough3**0**4**0**
Petersburg Borough13407.7*3**6188.1*6188.1*
Sitka City and Borough10117.3*26305.123269.929340.3
Skagway Municipality2**1**1**1**
Wrangell City and Borough4**1**0**1**
Yakutat plus Hoonah-Angoon1**1**3**9339.9*
Ketchikan Gateway Borough104760.467489.952380.252380.2
Prince of Wales-Hyder Census Area23377.713213.5*7114.9*7114.9*
Bethel Census Area79442.140223.931173.518100.7*
Kusilvak Census Area64791.355680.052642.935432.7
Aleutians East Borough0**1**0**1**
Aleutians West Census Area1**2**0**4**
Dillingham Census Area23481.913272.4*5**7146.7*
Kodiak Island Borough13103.1*19150.7*863.4*13103.1*
Bristol Bay plus Lake and Peninsula10413.2*5**3**4**
Statewide1,715235.31,278175.31,160159.11,020139.9

*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 ≥5 years in Alaska is now 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.
  • Everyone ≥18 years old who received the primary series of an mRNA (Pfizer or Moderna) COVID-19 vaccine ≥6 months ago should receive a booster dose.
  • For people who received the Janssen COVID-19 vaccine, a boosterdose (either the Janssen vaccine again or an mRNA vaccine) is recommended for anyone aged ≥18 years who was vaccinated ≥2 months ago.
  • Adolescents aged 16 and 17 who received the primary series of the Pfizer vaccine ≥6 months ago may receive a booster dose of the Pfizer vaccine.
  • Learn more about who should get a booster dose and to find COVID-19 vaccines near you at covidvax.alaska.gov.
  • 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 ≥5 years who received one or more doses of vaccine.

Borough/Census AreaDecember 27
Aleutians East Borough95%
Aleutians West Census Area74%
Anchorage Municipality75%
Bethel Census Area80%
Bristol Bay plus Lake and Peninsula77%
Denali Borough75%
Dillingham Census Area65%
Fairbanks North Star Borough67%
Haines Borough72%
Juneau City and Borough84%
Kenai Peninsula Borough53%
Ketchikan Gateway Borough71%
Kodiak Island Borough73%
Kusilvak Census Area80%
Matanuska-Susitna Borough45%
Nome Census Area82%
North Slope Borough42%
Northwest Arctic Borough67%
Petersburg Borough68%
Prince of Wales-Hyder Census Area69%
Sitka City and Borough82%
Skagway Municipality82%
Southeast Fairbanks Census Area39%
Valdez-Cordova Census Area65%
Wrangell City and Borough65%
Yakutat plus Hoonah-Angoon80%
Yukon-Koyukuk Census Area83%
Statewide67.5%

New Hospitalizations and Deaths

  • Cumulative hospitalizations increased by 44 to 3,248. Hospitalization reports often lag when a case was initially reported.
  • 6.7% of hospitalized patients in Alaska had COVID-19 as of December 27, 2021.
  • On December 25th there were 55 persons with COVID-19 in AK hospitals, which is a 15.4% decrease relative to the week before when there were 65 persons hospitalized.
  • The cumulative number of COVID-19 deaths among Alaska residents increased by 30 to 945. It is common to take some time for a death to be reported and verified, and deaths that occurred during December 19–December 25 may be reported in the future after death certificates are reviewed.

Total Confirmed COVID Beds Occupied

Variant Tracking

The most recent Genomic Surveillance data can be found on the “COVID-19 Variants” tab of the Cases Dashboard.

Variants of ConcernCases IdentifiedChange from Previous ReportFirst Identified in Alaska
Delta (B.1.617.2-like)6,239+4230 May 2021
Omicron (B.1.1.529-like)6+529 November 2021
    
Variants Being MonitoredCases IdentifiedChange from Previous ReportFirst Identified in Alaska
Alpha (B.1.1.7)466020 December 2020
Beta (B.1.351)7020 March 2021
Epsilon (B.1.427/429)144024 December 2020
Eta (B.1.525)1016 March 2021
Gamma (P.1/P.1.1/P.1.2)7708 February 2021
Iota (B.1.526)2404 February 2021
Mu (B.1.621)16106 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.
  • Alaska residents who are fully vaccinated are much less likely to be hospitalized due to COVID-19 than those who are not fully vaccinated. (Age-standardized per capita rates of COVID-19 hospitalizations by vaccination status are updated monthly.)

  • The following updated VB data are among Alaska residents aged ≥5 years with a specimen collection date from January 16–December 25, 2021.
  • From January 16–December 25, 2021, 112 deaths, 344 hospitalizations, and 25,954 cases with a VB infection were reported among Alaska residents aged ≥5 years. These counts are provisional and subject to change as data are compiled and reviewed. In that same time frame, a total of 94,696 cases, 2,037 hospitalizations, and 634 deaths were reported.
  • 73% of all cases, 83% of all hospitalizations, and 82% of deaths among Alaska residents aged ≥5 years from January 16–December 25, 2021 were in people who were not fully vaccinated. 
  • More detailed information about hospitalizations, deaths, repeat and vaccine breakthrough infections among Alaska residents can also be found in the monthly report, which includes data through October.
  • Age-standardized per capita rates of COVID-19 cases by vaccination status are updated weekly. Some COVID-19 cases with specimen collection in the immediate past week (indicated by the grey box) may have not yet been reported or counted.

  • The following table shows by region the number of vaccine breakthrough cases and the number of cases among persons who are not fully vaccinated.
 Cases (December 19–December 25)
RegionVaccine breakthrough (All ages)Not fully vaccinated
(All ages)
Anchorage Municipality256279
Fairbanks North Star Borough8482
Juneau City and Borough3644
Kenai Peninsula Borough2753
Matanuska-Susitna Borough51101
Northwest Region2314
Other Interior Region105
Other Southeast Region – Northern1628
Other Southeast Region – Southern2628
Southwest Region179
Y-K Delta Region3116

**To protect privacy, data are excluded from rows in which any value is <5.

A variety of factors may affect the proportion of vaccine breakthrough cases by region. In communities with higher vaccination coverage, a larger proportion of cases is expected to occur among fully vaccinated persons. Other potential factors include the extent of prior infection in a region and differences in testing practices between regions.

COVID-19 Communication Resources

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

Cases by Week of Onset and Age

Note: Quality assurance efforts are ongoing to attribute cases to the correct date on the onset date epi curve. Some recent cases will be reattributed to different weeks.

Note: Quality assurance efforts are ongoing to attribute cases to the correct date on the onset date epi curve. Some recent cases will be reattributed to different weeks. Race abbreviations include AI/AN (American Indian or Alaska Native), Asian/NHOPI (Asian, Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander), and UI/Unknown (Under investigation or unknown).

Additional informational resources:

Additional ECHO session details:

Updated December 30, 2021 DHSS, UAA ECHO These ECHO sessions are produced and facilitated by
UAA’s Center for Human Development Alaska ECHO project
in partnership with the State of Alaska, Department of Health & Social Services Important Note: Most Division of Public Health ECHO series will be taking a break from December 20-December 31 for the winter holidays. Please check individual ECHO registration pages for additional information on holiday scheduling.  

NEWS RELEASE: December 29 Unified Command Meeting

UNIFIED COMMAND DISCUSSES OMICRON AND NEW CDC GUIDANCE

SITKA, December 29, 2021 – Incident Commander Craig Warren reported Unified Command was meeting every four weeks. He noted that Sitka had been in the high alert level since the end of November and was trending up quickly much like other places in the US. He stated it was most likely the Omicron variant but that had not been confirmed. He said Omicron was more transmittable, but that people were not getting quite as sick. He cautioned with the numbers going up though, there could be higher hospitalizations. He reminded the public to stay home if they were sick. He asked for vigilance as to not spread COVID. He stated the CDC had updated guidance of five days of quarantine rather than the ten days for those asymptomatic. He relayed there would be an update from Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) tomorrow noting that the CDC may give recommendations rather than mandates for cruise travel. He reminded if you were sick, do not go to school or work and to wash your hands, mask up around others, and to get out and enjoy the fresh air.

Warren relayed for Dr. Bruhl, Southeast Alaska Regional Health Consortium (SEARHC) Chief Medical Officer and Incident Commander of two COVID-19 positive patients at the hospital. The next vaccine clinic would be January 4 at Mountainside Urgent Care, 209 Moller Avenue from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. with Pfizer for ages 5 to 11 from 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. A link to schedule an appointment would be advertised soon. For questions, call the COVID hotline at 907.966.8799.

Public Health Nurse Denise Ewing reported having the tools to fight Omicron by getting vaccinated and boosted, continue to mask, and test if you felt symptoms, had been around someone with COVID, or when travelling. SEARHC had testing at Mountainside Clinic, home test kits were available, two per family from Public Health (540 had been given out since Monday) and tests were available at Harry Race. She said that 800 test kits had been given to organizations. She relayed that there were 27 positive COVID cases today and 39 yesterday stating it was likely the Omicron variant but there were no results from sequencing yet. She relayed from the CDC that data was still out but there was a current increase of Omicron cases likely to lead to a national surge in the coming weeks.

Ewing reminded of the CDC guidance changes for people with COVID-19 if boosted or had completed the primary series of Pfizer or Moderna vaccine within the last six months or completed the primary of Johnson & Johnson vaccine within the last two months to wear a mask around others for 10 days, test on day five if possible and to stay home if symptoms develop. She stated for those that had COVID-19 and had completed the primary series of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine that had been over six months and you were not boosted, or you completed the primary series of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine over two months ago and were not boosted or not vaccinated to stay home for five days and continue to wear a mask around others for five additional days. She said if unable to quarantine, to wear a mask around others for ten days and test on day five if possible and if symptoms develop, stay home. The changes can be found by visiting https://www.cdc.gov/.

Trish White, Harry Race Pharmacist reported a full clinic on Friday with mostly booster doses, a few second doses, and about a dozen children. To get on the waitlist, visit http://www.sitkapharmacies.com. She stated the dates and times were listed on the website which also included the flu vaccine. She thanked Public Health for the test kits and was grateful to have a supply.

Thor Christianson, Logistics reported able to get most medical supplies although there were delays with anything that was manufactured in China.

Travis Miller, Sitka Tribe of Alaska (STA) reported continued office closure to the public and testing of staff every two weeks.

Public Information Officer Melissa Henshaw reported very few calls or emails. She told of social media posts with regards to the high alert level and the mask mandate, travel mitigation guidance, international travel requirements along with recommendations for quarantine and isolation.

Due to the High Alert Level in Sitka, Sitka Unified Command recommends continued mitigation: face coverings were strongly encouraged for individuals regardless of vaccination status, maintaining physical distance of 6 feet along with following CDC guidelines CDC Guidelines.

We urge citizens to remain diligent and practice proper hygiene measures, such as washing your hands often, avoiding close contact with others. In addition, get tested but stay home if you feel ill, wear a face covering when around others, and clean and disinfect objects and surfaces on a regular basis.

COVID-19 symptoms are similar to the flu – fever, aching, cough, sore throat, shortness of breath, and sometimes decreased sense of taste and smell. If you are concerned you might have contracted the coronavirus contact the COVID hotline at 966.8799. Outside of normal clinic hours, patients can contact the SEARHC 24/7 Nurse Advice Line at 1.800.613.0560 to be triaged by a registered nurse. 

The Sitka Emergency Unified Command continues to urge citizens to enroll for a vaccination online with Harry Race Pharmacy at Harry Race Pharmacy and with SEARHC at https://covid19.searhc.org/. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), COVID-19 vaccines have demonstrated to be safe and effective. COVID-19 vaccines reduce the risk of people spreading the virus. Being vaccinated is the best way to protect our community.

The Emergency Operations Center encourages residents to prepare for any local emergency by ensuring each family member has a 14- day emergency supply kit, including any necessary medications.

For information on the local pandemic response, visit https://cityofsitka.org or https://covid19.searhc.org.

# # #

COVID-19 Alaska Weekly Case Update: December 12 — December 18, 2021

Alaska Weekly Update

Alaska Department of Health & Social Services Weekly Case Update
December 12 — December 18, 2021

Low Statewide transmission
Rt0.84
HIGH Statewide alert status 159.1LIMITED Hospital
capacity
Intermediate Test positivity
3.38%
67.2%
of Alaskans aged 5+ 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 facilities continue to have a high number of inpatients, which results in delays in admitting patients from emergency departments as well as other operational challenges.Red->5%
Orange- 2-5%
Yellow- <2%
This includes people with at least one dose. Estimated AK population 5 and older of 680,580 from the AK Department of Labor & Workforce Development.
  • Alaska currently has the forty-fifth highest number of cases in the last seven days per 100,000 population among the 50 states.
  • Hospital capacity has been strained during the Delta variant wave of COVID-19 such that in some hospitals, it may become difficult to care for everyone who needs care, even for non-COVID health concerns. Some care may need to be delayed, there may be long wait times, and hospital beds may not be available.  
    • Hospitalizations are continuing to occur in younger Alaskans, with the median age of persons hospitalized due to COVID-19 in 2021 being about 5 years younger than in 2020.
    • Among those hospitalized due to COVID-19 and with specimen collection dates from January 16, 2021 through December 18, 2021, unvaccinated and partially vaccinated patients had a median age 14 years younger than fully vaccinated patients.

  • Substantial or high levels of COVID-19 transmission are occurring throughout much of Alaska.
  • 1,068 cases were reported in Alaskans the week of December 12–December 18. This is a 24.4% decrease from the number of cases reported the week before and indicates a downward trajectory. The course of the COVID-19 pandemic is difficult to predict, and the pattern of declining cases may not be sustained in future weeks.  
  • In the Anchorage Municipality and Matanuska-Susitna Borough, the number of new COVID-19 cases appears to be continuing to decline. There is not a clear upwards or downwards trajectory in the Fairbanks North Star Borough, the Kenai Peninsula Borough or the City and Borough of Juneau.  
  • Regardless of the trajectories, high levels of community transmission are widespread, and dozens of Alaskans are hospitalized with COVID each week.
  • The intensity of COVID-19 transmission varies substantially between communities outside the largest boroughs. COVID-19 cases are regularly reported from nearly all boroughs and census areas and some communities are experiencing widespread transmission.

COVID-19 Guidance

Take action now to help slow the spread of COVID-19 and preserve health care capacity.

  • Please get vaccinated if you haven’t already and get a booster dose if you are eligible (see below for more information). Currently available COVID vaccines will help protect you, your family, and your community against COVID-19.
  • 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 where this action is needed to protect your health and the health of others.
  • Continue to avoid crowds and practice social distancing – particularly when indoors.
  • Seek testing if you have any symptoms or have been exposed to an infected person. If you do test positive, isolate right away, and notify your contacts. Ask them to get tested and, if they are unvaccinated, to quarantine.
  • If you test positive and you’re at increased risk for severe COVID, obtain monoclonal antibody treatment. This has been shown to be an effective treatment for reducing the risk of hospitalization. This treatment works best when given early.
  • Persons at high risk include but are not limited to persons who are elderly, immunocompromised, obese, pregnant, or have certain chronic underlying medical conditions.
  • 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
November 29
Alert Level
December 6
Alert Level
December 13
Alert Level
December 20
CountRateCountRateCountRateCountRate
Anchorage Municipality652225.6579200.4466161.3435150.5
Fairbanks North Star Borough211217.2144148.29193.7123126.6
Juneau City and Borough60188.859185.763198.355173.1
Kenai Peninsula Borough99168.0117198.574125.672122.2
Matanuska-Susitna Region340316.9286266.5217202.2181168.7
Nome Census Area80818.965665.458593.745460.6
North Slope Borough35358.212122.8*881.9*4**
Northwest Arctic Borough70923.174975.935461.617224.2*
Chugach Census Area10148.1*4**1**10148.1*
Copper River Census Area22815.117629.9*7259.4*3**
Denali Borough0**3**0**0**
Southeast Fairbanks Census Area19273.9*4**8115.3*2**
Yukon-Koyukuk Census Area8158.6*1**3**17337.0*
Haines Borough1**3**0**4**
Petersburg Borough381,191.613407.7*3**6188.1*
Sitka City and Borough893.9*10117.3*26305.123269.9
Skagway Municipality0**2**1**1**
Wrangell City and Borough10420.3*4**1**0**
Yakutat plus Hoonah-Angoon3**1**1**3**
Ketchikan Gateway Borough91665.4104760.467489.952380.2
Prince of Wales-Hyder Census Area3**23377.713213.5*7114.9*
Bethel Census Area129722.079442.140223.931173.5
Kusilvak Census Area41506.964791.355680.052642.9
Aleutians East Borough2**0**1**0**
Aleutians West Census Area4**1**2**0**
Dillingham Census Area9188.6*23481.913272.4*5**
Kodiak Island Borough971.4*13103.1*19150.7*863.4*
Bristol Bay plus Lake and Peninsula4**10413.2*5**3**
Statewide1,958268.61,715235.31,278175.31,160159.1

*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 ≥5 years in Alaska is now 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.
  • Everyone ≥18 years old who received the primary series of an mRNA (Pfizer or Moderna) COVID-19 vaccine ≥6 months ago should receive a booster dose.
  • For people who received the Janssen COVID-19 vaccine, a boosterdose (either the Janssen vaccine again or an mRNA vaccine) is recommended for anyone aged ≥18 years who was vaccinated ≥2 months ago.
  • Adolescents aged 16 and 17 who received the primary series of the Pfizer vaccine ≥6 months ago may receive a booster dose of the Pfizer vaccine.
  • Learn more about who should get a booster dose and to find COVID-19 vaccines near you at covidvax.alaska.gov.
  • 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 ≥5 years who received one or more doses of vaccine.

Borough/Census AreaDecember 20
Aleutians East Borough95%
Aleutians West Census Area74%
Anchorage Municipality75%
Bethel Census Area80%
Bristol Bay plus Lake and Peninsula77%
Denali Borough75%
Dillingham Census Area65%
Fairbanks North Star Borough66%
Haines Borough72%
Juneau City and Borough83%
Kenai Peninsula Borough52%
Ketchikan Gateway Borough70%
Kodiak Island Borough72%
Kusilvak Census Area80%
Matanuska-Susitna Borough45%
Nome Census Area82%
North Slope Borough42%
Northwest Arctic Borough67%
Petersburg Borough68%
Prince of Wales-Hyder Census Area69%
Sitka City and Borough82%
Skagway Municipality82%
Southeast Fairbanks Census Area39%
Valdez-Cordova Census Area65%
Wrangell City and Borough65%
Yakutat plus Hoonah-Angoon79%
Yukon-Koyukuk Census Area83%
Statewide67.2%

New Hospitalizations and Deaths

  • Cumulative hospitalizations increased by 56 to 3,204. Hospitalization reports often lag when a case was initially reported.
  • 6.7% of hospitalized patients in Alaska had COVID-19 as of December 20, 2021.
  • On December 18th there were 65 persons with COVID-19 in AK hospitals, which is a 1.5% decrease relative to the week before when there were 66 persons hospitalized.
  • The cumulative number of COVID-19 deaths among Alaska residents increased by 58 to 915. It is common to take some time for a death to be reported and verified, and deaths that occurred during December 12–December 18 may be reported in the future after death certificates are reviewed.

Total Confirmed COVID Beds Occupied

Variant Tracking

The most recent Genomic Surveillance data can be found on the “COVID-19 Variants” tab of the Cases Dashboard.

Variants of ConcernCases IdentifiedChange from Previous ReportFirst Identified in Alaska
Delta (B.1.617.2-like)6,197+24830 May 2021
Omicron (B.1.1.529-like)1029 November 2021
 
Variants Being MonitoredCases IdentifiedChange from Previous ReportFirst Identified in Alaska
Alpha (B.1.1.7)466+520 December 2020
Beta (B.1.351)7020 March 2021
Epsilon (B.1.427/429)144+524 December 2020
Eta (B.1.525)1016 March 2021
Gamma (P.1/P.1.1/P.1.2)77+18 February 2021
Iota (B.1.526)2404 February 2021
Mu (B.1.621)16106 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.
  • Alaska residents who are fully vaccinated are much less likely to be hospitalized due to COVID-19 than those who are not fully vaccinated. (Age-standardized per capita rates of COVID-19 hospitalizations by vaccination status are updated monthly.)

  • The following updated VB data are among Alaska residents aged ≥5 years with a specimen collection date from January 16–December 18, 2021.
  • From January 16–December 18, 2021, 112 deaths, 340 hospitalizations, and 25,328 cases with a VB infection were reported among Alaska residents aged ≥5 years. These counts are provisional and subject to change as data are compiled and reviewed. In that same time frame, a total of 93,437 cases, 2,023 hospitalizations, and 631 deaths were reported.
  • 73% of all cases, 83% of all hospitalizations, and 82% of deaths among Alaska residents aged ≥5 years from January 16–December 18, 2021 were in people who were not fully vaccinated. 
  • More detailed information about hospitalizations, deaths, repeat and vaccine breakthrough infections among Alaska residents can also be found in the monthly report, which includes data through October.
  • Age-standardized per capita rates of COVID-19 cases by vaccination status are updated weekly. Some COVID-19 cases with specimen collection in the immediate past week (indicated by the grey box) may have not yet been reported or counted.

  • The following table shows by region the number of vaccine breakthrough cases and the number of cases among persons who are not fully vaccinated.
 Cases (December 12–December 18)
RegionVaccine breakthrough (All ages)Not fully vaccinated
(All ages)
Anchorage Municipality157222
Fairbanks North Star Borough3066
Juneau City and Borough2820
Kenai Peninsula Borough1559
Matanuska-Susitna Borough49108
Northwest Region2840
Other Interior Region819
Other Southeast Region – Northern1821
Other Southeast Region – Southern2036
Southwest Region****
Y-K Delta Region2742

**To protect privacy, data are excluded from rows in which any value is <5.

  • A variety of factors may affect the proportion of vaccine breakthrough cases by region. In communities with higher vaccination coverage, a larger proportion of cases is expected to occur among fully vaccinated persons. Other potential factors include the extent of prior infection in a region and differences in testing practices between regions.

COVID-19 Communication Resources

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

Cases by Week of Onset and Age

Note: Quality assurance efforts are ongoing to attribute cases to the correct date on the onset date epi curve. Some recent cases will be reattributed to different weeks.

Cases by Week of Onset and Race

Note: Quality assurance efforts are ongoing to attribute cases to the correct date on the onset date epi curve. Some recent cases will be reattributed to different weeks. Race abbreviations include AI/AN (American Indian or Alaska Native), Asian/NHOPI (Asian, Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander), and UI/Unknown (Under investigation or unknown).

Additional informational resources:

Additional ECHO session details:

Updated December 23, 2021

DHSS, UAA ECHO

These ECHO sessions are produced and facilitated by
UAA’s Center for Human Development Alaska ECHO project
in partnership with the State of Alaska, Department of Health & Social Services

Important Note: Most Division of Public Health ECHO series will be taking a break from December 20-December 31 for the winter holidays. Please check individual ECHO registration pages for additional information on holiday scheduling.

COVID-19 Alaska Weekly Case Update: December 5 — December 11, 2021

Alaska Weekly Update

Alaska Department of Health & Social Services Weekly Case Update
December 5 — December 11, 2021

Low Statewide transmission
Rt0.85
HIGH Statewide alert status 175.3LIMITED Hospital
capacity
Intermediate Test positivity
3.57%
66.8%
of Alaskans aged 5+ 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 facilities continue to have a high number of inpatients, which results in delays in admitting patients from emergency departments as well as other operational challenges.Red->5%
Orange- 2-5%
Yellow- <2%
This includes people with at least one dose. Estimated AK population 5 and older of 680,580 from the AK Department of Labor & Workforce Development.
  • Alaska currently has the thirty-third highest number of cases in the last seven days per 100,000 population among the 50 states.
  • Hospital capacity has been strained during the Delta variant wave of COVID-19 such that in some hospitals, it may become difficult to care for everyone who needs care, even for non-COVID health concerns. Some care may need to be delayed, there may be long wait times, and hospital beds may not be available.  
    • Hospitalizations are continuing to occur in younger Alaskans, with the median age of persons hospitalized due to COVID-19 in 2021 being about 5 years younger than in 2020.
    • Among those hospitalized due to COVID-19 and with specimen collection dates from January 16, 2021 through December 11, 2021, unvaccinated and partially vaccinated patients had a median age 14 years younger than fully vaccinated patients.

  • Substantial or high levels of COVID-19 transmission are occurring throughout much of Alaska.
  • 1,413 cases were reported in Alaskans the week of December 5–December 11. This is a 13.0% decrease from the number of cases reported the week before and indicates a downward trajectory. The course of the COVID-19 pandemic is difficult to predict, and the pattern of declining cases may not be sustained in future weeks.  
  • In the three largest boroughs (Anchorage Municipality, Matanuska-Susitna Borough, and Fairbanks North Star Borough) the number of new COVID-19 cases appears to be continuing to decline. There is not a clear upwards or downwards trajectory in the Kenai Peninsula Borough or the City and Borough of Juneau.
  • Regardless of the trajectories, high levels of community transmission are widespread, and dozens of Alaskans are hospitalized with COVID each week.
  • The intensity of COVID-19 transmission varies substantially between communities outside the largest boroughs. COVID-19 cases are regularly reported from nearly all boroughs and census areas and some communities are experiencing widespread transmission.

COVID-19 Guidance

Take action now to help slow the spread of COVID-19 and preserve health care capacity.

  • Please get vaccinated if you haven’t already and get a booster dose if you are eligible (see below for more information). Currently available COVID vaccines will help protect you, your family, and your community against COVID-19.
  • 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 where this action is needed to protect your health and the health of others.
  • Continue to avoid crowds and practice social distancing – particularly when indoors.
  • Seek testing if you have any symptoms or have been exposed to an infected person. If you do test positive, isolate right away, and notify your contacts. Ask them to get tested and, if they are unvaccinated, to quarantine.
  • If you test positive and you’re at increased risk for severe COVID, obtain monoclonal antibody treatment. This has been shown to be an effective treatment for reducing the risk of hospitalization. This treatment works best when given early.
  • Persons at high risk include but are not limited to persons who are elderly, immunocompromised, obese, pregnant, or have certain chronic underlying medical conditions.
  • 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
November 22
Alert Level
November 29
Alert Level
December 6
Alert Level
December 13
CountRateCountRateCountRateCountRate
Anchorage Municipality793274.4652225.6579200.4466161.3
Fairbanks North Star Borough289297.5211217.2144148.29193.7
Juneau City and Borough49154.260188.859185.763198.3
Kenai Peninsula Borough158268.199168.0117198.574125.6
Matanuska-Susitna Region407379.3340316.9286266.5217202.2
Nome Census Area1121,146.580818.965665.458593.7
North Slope Borough54552.735358.212122.8*881.9*
Northwest Arctic Borough1031,358.370923.174975.935461.6
Chugach Census Area24355.510148.1*4**1**
Copper River Census Area25926.322815.117629.9*7259.4*
Denali Borough7387.6*0**3**0**
Southeast Fairbanks Census Area9129.7*19273.9*4**8115.3*
Yukon-Koyukuk Census Area13257.7*8158.6*1**3**
Haines Borough1**1**3**0**
Petersburg Borough762,383.2381,191.613407.7*3**
Sitka City and Borough10117.3*893.9*10117.3*26305.1
Skagway Municipality0**0**2**1**
Wrangell City and Borough21882.710420.3*4**1**
Yakutat plus Hoonah-Angoon9339.9*3**1**1**
Ketchikan Gateway Borough91665.491665.4104760.467489.9
Prince of Wales-Hyder Census Area24394.13**23377.713213.5*
Bethel Census Area2041,141.7129722.079442.140223.9
Kusilvak Census Area37457.541506.964791.355680.0
Aleutians East Borough2**2**0**1**
Aleutians West Census Area2**4**1**2**
Dillingham Census Area13272.4*9188.6*23481.913272.4*
Kodiak Island Borough16126.9*971.4*13103.1*19150.7*
Bristol Bay plus Lake and Peninsula10413.2*4**10413.2*5**
Statewide2,559351.11,958268.61,715235.31,278175.3

*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 ≥5 years in Alaska is now 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.
  • Everyone ≥18 years old who received the primary series of an mRNA (Pfizer or Moderna) COVID-19 vaccine ≥6 months ago should receive a booster dose.
  • For people who received the Janssen COVID-19 vaccine, a boosterdose (either the Janssen vaccine again or an mRNA vaccine) is recommended for anyone aged ≥18 years who was vaccinated ≥2 months ago.
  • Adolescents aged 16 and 17 who received the primary series of the Pfizer vaccine ≥6 months ago may receive a booster dose of the Pfizer vaccine.
  • Learn more about who should get a booster dose and to find COVID-19 vaccines near you at covidvax.alaska.gov.
  • 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 ≥5 years who received one or more doses of vaccine.

Borough/Census AreaDecember 13
Aleutians East Borough95%
Aleutians West Census Area74%
Anchorage Municipality74%
Bethel Census Area80%
Bristol Bay plus Lake and Peninsula76%
Denali Borough75%
Dillingham Census Area63%
Fairbanks North Star Borough66%
Haines Borough72%
Juneau City and Borough83%
Kenai Peninsula Borough52%
Ketchikan Gateway Borough70%
Kodiak Island Borough72%
Kusilvak Census Area80%
Matanuska-Susitna Borough45%
Nome Census Area81%
North Slope Borough42%
Northwest Arctic Borough66%
Petersburg Borough68%
Prince of Wales-Hyder Census Area69%
Sitka City and Borough82%
Skagway Municipality81%
Southeast Fairbanks Census Area39%
Valdez-Cordova Census Area65%
Wrangell City and Borough65%
Yakutat plus Hoonah-Angoon79%
Yukon-Koyukuk Census Area82%
Statewide66.8%

Note: Vaccination coverage estimates by borough and census area now include data on vaccines administered by the DoD and VA, which led to an increase in reported vaccination coverage for certain boroughs and census areas.  

New Hospitalizations and Deaths

  • Cumulative hospitalizations increased by 31 to 3,148. Hospitalization reports often lag when a case was initially reported.
  • 6.4% of hospitalized patients in Alaska had COVID-19 as of December 13, 2021.
  • On December 11th there were 66 persons with COVID-19 in AK hospitals, which is a 12% decrease relative to the week before when there were 75 persons hospitalized.
  • The cumulative number of COVID-19 deaths among Alaska residents increased by 4 to 857. It is common to take some time for a death to be reported and verified, and deaths that occurred during December 5–December 11 may be reported in the future after death certificates are reviewed.

Total Confirmed COVID Beds Occupied

Variant Tracking

The most recent Genomic Surveillance data can be found on the “COVID-19 Variants” tab of the Cases Dashboard.

Variants of ConcernCases IdentifiedChange from Previous ReportFirst Identified in Alaska
Delta (B.1.617.2-like)5,949+25730 May 2021
Omicron (B.1.1.529-like)1+129 November 2021
 
Variants Being MonitoredCases IdentifiedChange from Previous ReportFirst Identified in Alaska
Alpha (B.1.1.7)461-220 December 2020
Beta (B.1.351)7020 March 2021
Epsilon (B.1.427/429)139024 December 2020
Eta (B.1.525)1016 March 2021
Gamma (P.1/P.1.1/P.1.2)7608 February 2021
Iota (B.1.526)2404 February 2021
Mu (B.1.621)16106 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.
  • Alaska residents who are fully vaccinated are much less likely to be hospitalized due to COVID-19 than those who are not fully vaccinated. (Age-standardized per capita rates of COVID-19 hospitalizations by vaccination status are updated monthly.)

  • The following updated VB data are among Alaska residents aged ≥5 years with a specimen collection date from January 16–December 11, 2021.
  • From January 16–December 11, 2021, 100 deaths, 317 hospitalizations, and 24,841 cases with a VB infection were reported among Alaska residents aged ≥5 years. These counts are provisional and subject to change as data are compiled and reviewed. In that same time frame, a total of 92,352 cases, 1,936 hospitalizations, and 546 deaths were reported.
  • 73% of all cases, 84% of all hospitalizations, and 82% of deaths among Alaska residents aged ≥5 years from January 16–December 11, 2021 were in people who were not fully vaccinated. 
  • More detailed information about hospitalizations, deaths, repeat and vaccine breakthrough infections among Alaska residents can also be found in the monthly report, which includes data through October.
  • Age-standardized per capita rates of COVID-19 cases by vaccination status are updated weekly. Some COVID-19 cases with specimen collection in the immediate past week (indicated by the grey box) may have not yet been reported or counted.

  • The following table shows by region the number of vaccine breakthrough cases and the number of cases among persons who are not fully vaccinated.
 Cases (December 5–December 11)
RegionVaccine breakthrough
(All ages)
Not fully vaccinated
(All ages)
Anchorage Municipality144264
Fairbanks North Star Borough2552
Juneau City and Borough2829
Kenai Peninsula Borough2049
Matanuska-Susitna Borough57125
Northwest Region3558
Other Interior Region****
Other Southeast Region – Northern1315
Other Southeast Region – Southern2850
Southwest Region1020
Y-K Delta Region4548

**To protect privacy, data are excluded from rows in which any value is <5.

  • A variety of factors may affect the proportion of vaccine breakthrough cases by region. In communities with higher vaccination coverage, a larger proportion of cases is expected to occur among fully vaccinated persons. Other potential factors include the extent of prior infection in a region and differences in testing practices between regions.

COVID-19 Communication Resources

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

Cases by Week of Onset and Age

Note: Quality assurance efforts are ongoing to attribute cases to the correct date on the onset date epi curve. Some recent cases will be reattributed to different weeks.

Cases by Week of Onset and Race

Note: Quality assurance efforts are ongoing to attribute cases to the correct date on the onset date epi curve. Some recent cases will be reattributed to different weeks. Race abbreviations include AI/AN (American Indian or Alaska Native), Asian/NHOPI (Asian, Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander), and UI/Unknown (Under investigation or unknown).

Additional informational resources:

Additional ECHO session details:

Updated December 16, 2021

DHSS, UAA ECHO

These ECHO sessions are produced and facilitated by
UAA’s Center for Human Development Alaska ECHO project
in partnership with the State of Alaska, Department of Health & Social Services

Important Note: Most Division of Public Health ECHO series will be taking a break from December 20-December 31 for the winter holidays. Please check individual ECHO registration pages for additional information on holiday scheduling.

Regular Series

Alaska Medical Provider ECHO (formerly COVID-19 for AK Healthcare Providers)
Monthly on the 1st Tuesday of the month from 7-8 pm
This ECHO aims to increase knowledge and share best practices among medical providers across Alaska as well as to increase access to information for those living in rural areas of the state.

School Health ECHO
Every Monday from 3:00-4:00 p.m Register
The School Health ECHO is a virtual learning network intended for professionals in the education setting (administrators, school-based nurses, etc.) to interface with a team of medical and education experts in Alaska.

Vaccine ECHO for Providers
Weekly on Tuesday from 2-3 p.m. Register
The Vaccine ECHO for providers provides planning and operation updates to vaccine providers across Alaska, while answering any questions you may have.

Palliative Care ECHO
Monthly on the first Tuesday from 12-1 p.m.
This monthly ECHO is for all Alaskan healthcare disciplines supporting patients with serious illness, and aims to provide support and up-to-date information regarding Palliative Care during this period of COVID-19.

Public Science ECHO
Weekly on Wednesday from 12-1 p.m. register via Zoom
The Alaska Public Health Science ECHO is a virtual learning network intended for the general public to interface with our Public Health Leadership Team to explore the science of the COVID-19 virus, other public health topics, and current best practices. Or view via concurrent livestream to Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/akechoprograms

Local Government Public Health ECHO
Monthly on the third Wednesday from 3-4 p.m. Register
The Local Government Public Health Analysis ECHO is a virtual learning environment intended for local Alaska government leaders to interact with the State Public Health Leadership team and focuses on pandemic mitigation tools available, and how to use them.

Long Term Care Facilities ECHO 
Second Wednesday of the month from 4-5 p.m. Register 
Please join other staff and administrators of Alaska’s assisted living homes and residential care facilities to gather, learn, share, and grow. COVID has disrupted the fabric of our daily life and we can always learn from each other as we adjust to the new normal.

Healthcare Specific Situational Awareness ECHO
Weekly on Thursday from 12-1 p.m.  Register
The Healthcare Specific Situational ECHO is a virtual learning network intended for healthcare professionals to interface with our Public Health Leadership Team to explore current best practices and the most recent information related to Public Health.

Perinatal ECHO
Monthly on 3rd Thursday from 6-7 p.m. Register
The Alaska Perinatal ECHO is a virtual learning network intended for medical providers caring for pregnant patients and their newborns.EMS ECHO
Monthly on the 1st and 3rd Wednesday 1-2 p.m Register
The EMS ECHO is a virtual learning network intended for Emergency Medical Services and related personnel in Alaska to amplify best practices. Sessions are topic-driven and typically include a guest presenter or a brief lecture with an interactive case or process discussion.

Co-Occurring Behavioral Health, Opioid and Stimulant Use Disorders ECHO
1st & 3rd Wednesdays from 12:00pm-1:00pm, November 3, 2021 – April 20, 2022
The Co-Occurring Behavioral Health (COBH), Opioid and Stimulant Use Disorders ECHO facilitates a virtual network for behavioral health providers to learn best practice care through real-time access to experienced subject matter experts and their peers. Each session includes a brief lecture, de-identified case presentation for participants to receive feedback on complex cases, and open discussion facilitated by an interdisciplinary team.Data Waivers ECHO New ECHO!
2nd Wednesdays from 12:00pm-1:00pm, November 10, 2021 – September 14, 2022
The Data Waivers ECHO facilitates a virtual network for clinical providers to learn and implement best practices for offering buprenorphine and other medically assisted treatment (MAT) services under a data waiver. Each session includes a brief lecture, de-identified case presentation for participants to receive feedback on complex cases, and open discussion facilitated by an interdisciplinary team.

Session information and recordings of previous ECHO sessions
subscribe to ECHO calendar updates | email: echo@alaskachd.org | website: akecho.org

COVID-19 Alaska Weekly Case Update: November 28 — December 4, 2021

Alaska Weekly Update

Alaska Department of Health & Social Services Weekly Case Update
November 28 — December 4, 2021

Intermediate Statewide transmission
Rt0.84
HIGH Statewide alert status 235.3LIMITED Hospital capacityHIGH Test positivity
4.84%
62%
of Alaskans aged 5+ 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 facilities continue to have a high number of inpatients, which results in delays in admitting patients from emergency departments as well as other operational challenges.Red->5%
Orange- 2-5%
Yellow- <2%
This includes people with at least one dose. Estimated AK population 5 and older of 680,580 from the AK Department of Labor & Workforce Development.
  • Alaska currently has the thirtieth highest number of cases in the last seven days per 100,000 population among the 50 states.
  • Hospital capacity has been strained during the Delta variant wave of COVID-19 such that in some hospitals, it may become difficult to care for everyone who needs care, even for non-COVID health concerns. Some care may need to be delayed, there may be long wait times, and hospital beds may not be available.  
    • Hospitalizations are continuing to occur in younger Alaskans, with the median age of persons hospitalized due to COVID-19 in 2021 being about 5 years younger than in 2020.
    • Among those hospitalized due to COVID-19 and with specimen collection dates from January 16, 2021 through December 4, 2021, unvaccinated and partially vaccinated patients had a median age 14 years younger than fully vaccinated patients.

  • High levels of COVID-19 transmission are occurring throughout much of Alaska.
  • 1,624 cases were reported in Alaskans the week of November 28–December 4. This is an 18.9% decrease from the number of cases reported the week before and indicates a downward trajectory. The course of the COVID-19 pandemic is difficult to predict, and the pattern of declining cases may not be sustained in future weeks.  
  • In the five largest boroughs (Anchorage Municipality, Matanuska-Susitna Borough, Fairbanks North Star Borough, Kenai Peninsula Borough, and the City and Borough of Juneau), the number of new COVID-19 cases the week of November 28–December 4 was generally similar to the number the prior week. It is unclear if a downward trajectory is continuing. Making comparisons between weeks is difficult because the volume of testing was affected by the Thanksgiving holiday.  
  • Regardless of the trajectories, high levels of community transmission are widespread, and dozens of Alaskans are hospitalized with COVID each week.
  • The intensity of COVID-19 transmission varies substantially between communities outside the largest boroughs. COVID-19 cases are regularly reported from nearly all boroughs and census areas and some communities are experiencing extremely widespread transmission.

COVID-19 Guidance

Take action now to help slow the spread of COVID-19 and preserve health care capacity.

  • Please get vaccinated if you haven’t already and get a booster dose if you are eligible (see below for more information). Currently available COVID vaccines will help protect you, your family, and your community against COVID-19.
  • 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 where this action is needed to protect your health and the health of others.
  • Continue to avoid crowds and practice social distancing – particularly when indoors.
  • Seek testing if you have any symptoms or have been exposed to an infected person. If you do test positive, isolate right away, and notify your contacts. Ask them to get tested and, if they are unvaccinated, to quarantine.
  • If you test positive and you’re at increased risk for severe COVID, obtain monoclonal antibody treatment. This has been shown to be an effective treatment for reducing the risk of hospitalization. This treatment works best when given early.
  • Persons at high risk include but are not limited to persons who are elderly, immunocompromised, obese, pregnant, or have certain chronic underlying medical conditions.
  • 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
November 15
Alert Level
November 22
Alert Level
November 29
Alert Level
December 6
CountRateCountRateCountRateCountRate
Anchorage Municipality904312.8793274.4652225.6579200.4
Fairbanks North Star Borough294302.6289297.5211217.2144148.2
Juneau City and Borough3197.649154.260188.859185.7
Kenai Peninsula Borough155263.0158268.199168.0117198.5
Matanuska-Susitna Region537500.4407379.3340316.9286266.5
Nome Census Area1701,740.21121,146.580818.965665.4
North Slope Borough31317.354552.735358.212122.8*
Northwest Arctic Borough1181,556.11031,358.370923.174975.9
Chugach Census Area17251.8*24355.510148.1*4**
Copper River Census Area23852.225926.322815.117629.9*
Denali Borough4**7387.6*0**3**
Southeast Fairbanks Census Area30432.59129.7*19273.9*4**
Yukon-Koyukuk Census Area18356.9*13257.7*8158.6*1**
Haines Borough2**1**1**3**
Petersburg Borough431,348.4762,383.2381,191.613407.7*
Sitka City and Borough670.4*10117.3*893.9*10117.3*
Skagway Municipality0**0**0**2**
Wrangell City and Borough281,177.021882.710420.3*4**
Yakutat plus Hoonah-Angoon2**9339.9*3**1**
Ketchikan Gateway Borough89650.791665.491665.4104760.4
Prince of Wales-Hyder Census Area32525.524394.13**23377.7
Bethel Census Area1881,052.22041,141.7129722.079442.1
Kusilvak Census Area32395.637457.541506.964791.3
Aleutians East Borough2**2**2**0**
Aleutians West Census Area0**2**4**1**
Dillingham Census Area14293.3*13272.4*9188.6*23481.9
Kodiak Island Borough35277.516126.9*971.4*13103.1*
Bristol Bay plus Lake and Peninsula13537.2*10413.2*4**10413.2*
Statewide2,818386.62,559351.11,958268.61,715235.3
Alaska Weekly Update

Alaska Department of Health & Social Services Weekly Case Update
November 28 — December 4, 2021

Intermediate Statewide transmission
Rt0.84
HIGH Statewide alert status 235.3LIMITED Hospital capacityHIGH Test positivity
4.84%
62%
of Alaskans aged 5+ 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 facilities continue to have a high number of inpatients, which results in delays in admitting patients from emergency departments as well as other operational challenges.Red->5%
Orange- 2-5%
Yellow- <2%
This includes people with at least one dose. Estimated AK population 5 and older of 680,580 from the AK Department of Labor & Workforce Development.
  • Alaska currently has the thirtieth highest number of cases in the last seven days per 100,000 population among the 50 states.
  • Hospital capacity has been strained during the Delta variant wave of COVID-19 such that in some hospitals, it may become difficult to care for everyone who needs care, even for non-COVID health concerns. Some care may need to be delayed, there may be long wait times, and hospital beds may not be available.  
    • Hospitalizations are continuing to occur in younger Alaskans, with the median age of persons hospitalized due to COVID-19 in 2021 being about 5 years younger than in 2020.
    • Among those hospitalized due to COVID-19 and with specimen collection dates from January 16, 2021 through December 4, 2021, unvaccinated and partially vaccinated patients had a median age 14 years younger than fully vaccinated patients.
  • High levels of COVID-19 transmission are occurring throughout much of Alaska.
  • 1,624 cases were reported in Alaskans the week of November 28–December 4. This is an 18.9% decrease from the number of cases reported the week before and indicates a downward trajectory. The course of the COVID-19 pandemic is difficult to predict, and the pattern of declining cases may not be sustained in future weeks.  
  • In the five largest boroughs (Anchorage Municipality, Matanuska-Susitna Borough, Fairbanks North Star Borough, Kenai Peninsula Borough, and the City and Borough of Juneau), the number of new COVID-19 cases the week of November 28–December 4 was generally similar to the number the prior week. It is unclear if a downward trajectory is continuing. Making comparisons between weeks is difficult because the volume of testing was affected by the Thanksgiving holiday.  
  • Regardless of the trajectories, high levels of community transmission are widespread, and dozens of Alaskans are hospitalized with COVID each week.
  • The intensity of COVID-19 transmission varies substantially between communities outside the largest boroughs. COVID-19 cases are regularly reported from nearly all boroughs and census areas and some communities are experiencing extremely widespread transmission.

COVID-19 Guidance

Take action now to help slow the spread of COVID-19 and preserve health care capacity.

  • Please get vaccinated if you haven’t already and get a booster dose if you are eligible (see below for more information). Currently available COVID vaccines will help protect you, your family, and your community against COVID-19.
  • 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 where this action is needed to protect your health and the health of others.
  • Continue to avoid crowds and practice social distancing – particularly when indoors.
  • Seek testing if you have any symptoms or have been exposed to an infected person. If you do test positive, isolate right away, and notify your contacts. Ask them to get tested and, if they are unvaccinated, to quarantine.
  • If you test positive and you’re at increased risk for severe COVID, obtain monoclonal antibody treatment. This has been shown to be an effective treatment for reducing the risk of hospitalization. This treatment works best when given early.
  • Persons at high risk include but are not limited to persons who are elderly, immunocompromised, obese, pregnant, or have certain chronic underlying medical conditions.
  • 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
November 15
Alert Level
November 22
Alert Level
November 29
Alert Level
December 6
CountRateCountRateCountRateCountRate
Anchorage Municipality904312.8793274.4652225.6579200.4
Fairbanks North Star Borough294302.6289297.5211217.2144148.2
Juneau City and Borough3197.649154.260188.859185.7
Kenai Peninsula Borough155263.0158268.199168.0117198.5
Matanuska-Susitna Region537500.4407379.3340316.9286266.5
Nome Census Area1701,740.21121,146.580818.965665.4
North Slope Borough31317.354552.735358.212122.8*
Northwest Arctic Borough1181,556.11031,358.370923.174975.9
Chugach Census Area17251.8*24355.510148.1*4**
Copper River Census Area23852.225926.322815.117629.9*
Denali Borough4**7387.6*0**3**
Southeast Fairbanks Census Area30432.59129.7*19273.9*4**
Yukon-Koyukuk Census Area18356.9*13257.7*8158.6*1**
Haines Borough2**1**1**3**
Petersburg Borough431,348.4762,383.2381,191.613407.7*
Sitka City and Borough670.4*10117.3*893.9*10117.3*
Skagway Municipality0**0**0**2**
Wrangell City and Borough281,177.021882.710420.3*4**
Yakutat plus Hoonah-Angoon2**9339.9*3**1**
Ketchikan Gateway Borough89650.791665.491665.4104760.4
Prince of Wales-Hyder Census Area32525.524394.13**23377.7
Bethel Census Area1881,052.22041,141.7129722.079442.1
Kusilvak Census Area32395.637457.541506.964791.3
Aleutians East Borough2**2**2**0**
Aleutians West Census Area0**2**4**1**
Dillingham Census Area14293.3*13272.4*9188.6*23481.9
Kodiak Island Borough35277.516126.9*971.4*13103.1*
Bristol Bay plus Lake and Peninsula13537.2*10413.2*4**10413.2*
Statewide2,818386.62,559351.11,958268.61,715235.3

*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 ≥5 years in Alaska is now 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.
  • Everyone ≥18 years old who received the primary series of an mRNA (Pfizer or Moderna) COVID-19 vaccine ≥6 months ago should receive a booster dose.
  • For people who received the Janssen COVID-19 vaccine, a booster dose (either the Janssen vaccine again or an mRNA vaccine) is recommended for anyone aged ≥18 years who was vaccinated ≥2 months ago.
  • Adolescents aged 16 and 17 who received the primary series of the Pfizer vaccine ≥6 months ago may receive a booster dose of the Pfizer vaccine.
  • Learn more about who should get a booster dose and to find COVID-19 vaccines near you at covidvax.alaska.gov.
  • 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 ≥5 years who received one or more doses of vaccine.

Borough/Census AreaDecember 6
Aleutians East Borough95%
Aleutians West Census Area73%
Anchorage Municipality67%
Bethel Census Area79%
Bristol Bay plus Lake and Peninsula76%
Denali Borough75%
Dillingham Census Area62%
Fairbanks North Star Borough53%
Haines Borough72%
Juneau City and Borough82%
Kenai Peninsula Borough51%
Ketchikan Gateway Borough69%
Kodiak Island Borough71%
Kusilvak Census Area79%
Matanuska-Susitna Borough44%
Nome Census Area81%
North Slope Borough41%
Northwest Arctic Borough66%
Petersburg Borough68%
Prince of Wales-Hyder Census Area69%
Sitka City and Borough81%
Skagway Municipality79%
Southeast Fairbanks Census Area38%
Valdez-Cordova Census Area64%
Wrangell City and Borough65%
Yakutat plus Hoonah-Angoon79%
Yukon-Koyukuk Census Area81%
Statewide62%

New Hospitalizations and Deaths

  • Cumulative hospitalizations increased by 64 to 3,117. Hospitalization reports often lag when a case was initially reported.
  • 8.1% of hospitalized patients in Alaska had COVID-19 as of December 6, 2021.
  • On December 4th there were 75 persons with COVID-19 in AK hospitals, which is a 6.3% decrease relative to the week before when there were 80 persons hospitalized.
  • The cumulative number of COVID-19 deaths among Alaska residents increased by 5 to 853. It is common to take some time for a death to be reported and verified, and deaths that occurred during November 28–December 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
Delta (B.1.617.2-like)5,692+9730 May 2021
Omicron (B.1.1.529-like)0 Not identified
 
Variants Being MonitoredCases IdentifiedChange from Previous ReportFirst Identified in Alaska
Alpha (B.1.1.7)463020 December 2020
Beta (B.1.351)7020 March 2021
Epsilon (B.1.427/429)139+124 December 2020
Eta (B.1.525)1016 March 2021
Gamma (P.1/P.1.1/P.1.2)7608 February 2021
Iota (B.1.526)2404 February 2021
Mu (B.1.621)16106 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.
  • Alaska residents who are fully vaccinated are much less likely to be hospitalized due to COVID-19 than those who are not fully vaccinated. (Age-standardized per capita rates of COVID-19 hospitalizations by vaccination status are updated monthly.)

  • The following updated VB data are among Alaska residents aged ≥12 years with a specimen collection date from January 16–December 4, 2021. (Children ages 5 to 11 are not included because at this time they have not been eligible for vaccination long enough to become fully vaccinated.)
  • From January 16–December 4, 2021, 100 deaths, 310 hospitalizations, and 24,352 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 79,650 cases, 1,906 hospitalizations, and 542 deaths were reported.
  • 69% of all cases, 84% of all hospitalizations, and 82% of deaths among Alaska residents aged ≥12 years from January 16–December 4, 2021 were in people who were not fully vaccinated. 
  • More detailed information about hospitalizations, deaths, repeat and vaccine breakthrough infections among Alaska residents can also be found in the monthly report, which includes data through October.
  • Age-standardized per capita rates of COVID-19 cases by vaccination status are updated weekly. Some COVID-19 cases with specimen collection in the immediate past week (indicated by the grey box) may have not yet been reported or counted.

  • The following table shows by region the number of vaccine breakthrough cases, the number of cases among persons aged ≥12 years who are not fully vaccinated, and the number of cases among children 11 years and younger who are not fully vaccinated. (Children 5 to 11 years old have not been eligible for vaccination long enough to be considered fully vaccinated).
 Cases (November 28–December 4)
RegionVaccine breakthrough
(≥12 years)
Not fully vaccinated
(≥ 12 years old)
Not fully vaccinated
(<12 years old)
Anchorage Municipality200248120
Fairbanks North Star Borough475823
Juneau City and Borough291914
Kenai Peninsula Borough236713
Matanuska-Susitna Borough6819237
Northwest Region664240
Other Interior Region******
Other Southeast Region – Northern******
Other Southeast Region – Southern416424
Southwest Region222212
Y-K Delta Region652050

**To protect privacy, data are excluded from rows in which any value is <5.

  • A variety of factors may affect the proportion of vaccine breakthrough cases by region. In communities with higher vaccination coverage, a larger proportion of cases is expected to occur among fully vaccinated persons. Other potential factors include the extent of prior infection in a region and differences in testing practices between regions.

COVID-19 Communication Resources

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

Cases by Week of Onset and Age

Note: Quality assurance efforts are ongoing to attribute cases to the correct date on the onset date epi curve. Some recent cases will be reattributed to different weeks.

Cases by Week of Onset and Race

Note: Quality assurance efforts are ongoing to attribute cases to the correct date on the onset date epi curve. Some recent cases will be reattributed to different weeks. Race abbreviations include AI/AN (American Indian or Alaska Native), Asian/NHOPI (Asian, Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander), and UI/Unknown (Under investigation or unknown).

Additional informational resources:

Additional ECHO session details:

Updated December 9, 2021

DHSS, UAA ECHO

These ECHO sessions are produced and facilitated by
UAA’s Center for Human Development Alaska ECHO project
in partnership with the State of Alaska, Department of Health & Social Services

Session information and recordings of previous ECHO sessions
subscribe to ECHO calendar updates | email: echo@alaskachd.org | website: akecho.org

Important Note: Most Division of Public Health ECHO series will be taking a break from December 20-December 31 for the winter holidays. Please check individual ECHO registration pages for additional information on holiday scheduling.

Our Alaska Medical Providers ECHO is returning to a once-monthly schedule, on the 1st Tuesday of the month. The next session will take place Tuesday, December 7. Visit the series registration page for additional information.

Regular Series

Alaska Medical Provider ECHO (formerly COVID-19 for AK Healthcare Providers)
Monthly on the 1st Tuesday of the month from 7-8 pm
This ECHO aims to increase knowledge and share best practices among medical providers across Alaska as well as to increase access to information for those living in rural areas of the state.

School Health ECHO
Every Monday from 3:00-4:00 p.m Register
The School Health ECHO is a virtual learning network intended for professionals in the education setting (administrators, school-based nurses, etc.) to interface with a team of medical and education experts in Alaska.

Vaccine ECHO for Providers
Weekly on Tuesday from 2-3 p.m. Register
The Vaccine ECHO for providers provides planning and operation updates to vaccine providers across Alaska, while answering any questions you may have.

Palliative Care ECHO
Monthly on the first Tuesday from 12-1 p.m.
This monthly ECHO is for all Alaskan healthcare disciplines supporting patients with serious illness, and aims to provide support and up-to-date information regarding Palliative Care during this period of COVID-19.

Public Science ECHO
Weekly on Wednesday from 12-1 p.m. register via Zoom
The Alaska Public Health Science ECHO is a virtual learning network intended for the general public to interface with our Public Health Leadership Team to explore the science of the COVID-19 virus, other public health topics, and current best practices. Or view via concurrent livestream to Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/akechoprograms

Local Government Public Health ECHO
Monthly on the third Wednesday from 3-4 p.m. Register
The Local Government Public Health Analysis ECHO is a virtual learning environment intended for local Alaska government leaders to interact with the State Public Health Leadership team and focuses on pandemic mitigation tools available, and how to use them.

Long Term Care Facilities ECHO 
Second Wednesday of the month from 4-5 p.m. Register 
Please join other staff and administrators of Alaska’s assisted living homes and residential care facilities to gather, learn, share, and grow. COVID has disrupted the fabric of our daily life and we can always learn from each other as we adjust to the new normal.

Healthcare Specific Situational Awareness ECHO
Weekly on Thursday from 12-1 p.m.  Register
The Healthcare Specific Situational ECHO is a virtual learning network intended for healthcare professionals to interface with our Public Health Leadership Team to explore current best practices and the most recent information related to Public Health.

Perinatal ECHO
Monthly on 3rd Thursday from 6-7 p.m. Register
The Alaska Perinatal ECHO is a virtual learning network intended for medical providers caring for pregnant patients and their newborns.

EMS ECHO
Monthly on the 1st and 3rd Wednesday 1-2 p.m Register
The EMS ECHO is a virtual learning network intended for Emergency Medical Services and related personnel in Alaska to amplify best practices. Sessions are topic-driven and typically include a guest presenter or a brief lecture with an interactive case or process discussion.

Co-Occurring Behavioral Health, Opioid and Stimulant Use Disorders ECHO
1st & 3rd Wednesdays from 12:00pm-1:00pm, November 3, 2021 – April 20, 2022
The Co-Occurring Behavioral Health (COBH), Opioid and Stimulant Use Disorders ECHO facilitates a virtual network for behavioral health providers to learn best practice care through real-time access to experienced subject matter experts and their peers. Each session includes a brief lecture, de-identified case presentation for participants to receive feedback on complex cases, and open discussion facilitated by an interdisciplinary team.

Data Waivers ECHO New ECHO!
2nd Wednesdays from 12:00pm-1:00pm, November 10, 2021 – September 14, 2022
The Data Waivers ECHO facilitates a virtual network for clinical providers to learn and implement best practices for offering buprenorphine and other medically assisted treatment (MAT) services under a data waiver. Each session includes a brief lecture, de-identified case presentation for participants to receive feedback on complex cases, and open discussion facilitated by an interdisciplinary team.

Alert Level Remains High Ordinance 2021-32 Still Activated Which Requires the Use of Face Covering in Certain Indoor Settings

Sitka’s alert level remains in High which means ordinance 2021-32 is still activated that requires the use of face covering in certain indoor settings and providing a penalty.

The following mitigations are recommended:

• Masks/face coverings recommended when 6 feet of distance can’t be maintained from others

• 6 feet of distance should be maintained

• Large indoor gatherings are not recommended

• Restaurants/ Bars/ Lounges: Indoor capacity reduced to 50% – Encourage delivery/carryout/curbside or outside dining – All employees strongly encouraged to wear masks

• Travel recommendation: Testing strongly encouraged for all travelers – Limit travel when possible

Changes in Updates to COVID-19 Dashboard

Starting Monday, December 6, the State of Alaska Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS) COVID-19 Cases, Testing, and Vaccine Dashboards will be updated three days a week: Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. DHSS states the changes were being made for sustainability of staff and because weekly data reporting is generally more helpful for understanding trends. The City and Borough of Sitka COVID-19 Dashboard will also be updated Monday, Wednesday, and Friday to relay the data provided. The State of Alaska DHSS COVID-19 Dashboard can be found by visiting: https://experience.arcgis.com/experience/af2efc8bffbf4cdc83c2d1a134354074

COVID-19 Alaska Weekly Case Update: November 21 — November 27, 2021

Alaska Weekly Update

Alaska Department of Health & Social Services Weekly Case Update
November 21 — November 27, 2021

Intermediate Statewide transmission
Rt0.85
HIGH Statewide alert status 268.6LIMITED Hospital capacityHIGH Test positivity
5.89%
61%
of Alaskans aged 5+ 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 facilities continue to have a high number of inpatients, which results in delays in admitting patients from emergency departments as well as other operational challenges.Red->5%
Orange- 2-5%
Yellow- <2%
This includes people with at least one dose. Estimated AK population 5 and older of 680,580 from the AK Department of Labor & Workforce Development.
  • Alaska currently has the twenty-fifth highest number of cases in the last seven days per 100,000 population among the 50 states.
  • Hospital capacity has been strained during the Delta variant wave of COVID-19 such that in some hospitals, it may become difficult to care for everyone who needs care, even for non-COVID health concerns. Some care may need to be delayed, there may be long wait times, and hospital beds may not be available.  
    • Hospitalizations are continuing to occur in younger Alaskans, with the median age of persons hospitalized due to COVID-19 in 2021 being about 5 years younger than in 2020.
    • Among those hospitalized due to COVID-19 and with specimen collection dates from January 16, 2021 through November 27, 2021, unvaccinated and partially vaccinated patients had a median age 14 years younger than fully vaccinated patients.

  • High levels of COVID-19 transmission are occurring throughout much of Alaska.
  • 2,003 cases were reported in Alaskans the week of November 21–November 27. This is a 25.8% decrease from the number of cases reported the week before and indicates a downward trajectory. However, the Thanksgiving holiday likely reduced the amount of testing, so the extent of the downward trajectory may appear larger than it actually was. The course of the COVID-19 pandemic is difficult to predict, and the pattern of declining cases may not be sustained in future weeks.   
  • In the four largest boroughs (Anchorage Municipality, Matanuska-Susitna Borough, Fairbanks North Star Borough, and Kenai Peninsula Borough), the number of new COVID-19 cases each week appears to be declining. It’s unclear if there’s an upwards or downwards trajectory in Juneau.
  • Regardless of the trajectories, high levels of community transmission are widespread and causing significant illness, death, and demand on the health care system.
  • The 7-day test positivity rate in Alaska has declined since mid-October, but it remains elevated, and testing continues to be important.
  • The intensity of COVID-19 transmission varies substantially between communities outside the largest boroughs. COVID-19 cases are regularly reported from nearly all boroughs and census areas and some communities are experiencing extremely widespread transmission.

COVID-19 Guidance

Take action now to help slow the spread of COVID-19 and preserve health care capacity.

  • Please get vaccinated if you haven’t already and get a booster dose if you are eligible (see below for more information). Currently available COVID vaccines will help protect you, your family, and your community against COVID-19, including the Delta variant.
  • 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 where this action is needed to protect your health and the health of others.
  • Continue to avoid crowds and practice social distancing – particularly when indoors.
  • Seek testing if you have any symptoms or have been exposed to an infected person. If you do test positive, isolate right away, and notify your contacts. Ask them to get tested and, if they are unvaccinated, to quarantine.
  • If you test positive and you’re at increased risk for severe COVID, obtain monoclonal antibody treatment. This has been shown to be an effective treatment for reducing the risk of hospitalization. This treatment works best when given early.
  • Persons at high risk include but are not limited to persons who are elderly, immunocompromised, obese, pregnant, or have certain chronic underlying medical conditions.
  • 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
November 8
Alert Level
November 15
Alert Level
November 22
Alert Level
November 29
CountRateCountRateCountRateCountRate
Anchorage Municipality1,401484.8904312.8793274.4652225.6
Fairbanks North Star Borough515530.1294302.6289297.5211217.2
Juneau City and Borough75236.03197.649154.260188.8
Kenai Peninsula Borough275466.6155263.0158268.199168.0
Matanuska-Susitna Region694646.8537500.4407379.3340316.9
Nome Census Area2312,364.61701,740.21121,146.580818.9
North Slope Borough53542.431317.354552.735358.2
Northwest Arctic Borough1141,503.41181,556.11031,358.370923.1
Chugach Census Area24355.517251.8*24355.510148.1*
Copper River Census Area22815.123852.225926.322815.1
Denali Borough11609.1*4**7387.6*0**
Southeast Fairbanks Census Area42605.430432.59129.7*19273.9*
Yukon-Koyukuk Census Area36713.718356.9*13257.7*8158.6*
Haines Borough4**2**1**1**
Petersburg Borough491,536.5431,348.4762,383.2381,191.6
Sitka City and Borough782.1*670.4*10117.3*893.9*
Skagway Municipality1**0**0**0**
Wrangell City and Borough8336.3*281,177.021882.710420.3*
Yakutat plus Hoonah-Angoon7264.4*2**9339.9*3**
Ketchikan Gateway Borough49358.389650.791665.491665.4
Prince of Wales-Hyder Census Area30492.632525.524394.13**
Bethel Census Area2241,253.61881,052.22041,141.7129722.0
Kusilvak Census Area45556.432395.637457.541506.9
Aleutians East Borough6205.1*2**2**2**
Aleutians West Census Area4**0**2**4**
Dillingham Census Area10209.5*14293.3*13272.4*9188.6*
Kodiak Island Borough47372.735277.516126.9*971.4*
Bristol Bay plus Lake and Peninsula13537.2*13537.2*10413.2*4**
Statewide3,997548.42,818386.62,559351.11,958268.6

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 ≥5 years in Alaska is now 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.
  • Everyone ≥18 years old who received the primary series of an mRNA (Pfizer or Moderna) COVID-19 vaccine ≥6 months ago is now eligible for a booster dose.
    • In particular, persons aged ≥50 years and persons aged 18+ who live in long-term care settings should receive a booster dose.
  • For people who received the Janssen (Johnson & Johnson) COVID-19 vaccine, a booster dose (either the Janssen vaccine again or an mRNA vaccine) is recommended for anyone aged ≥18 years who was vaccinated ≥2 months ago.
  • Learn more about who should get a booster dose and to find COVID-19 vaccines near you at covidvax.alaska.gov.
  • 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 ≥5 years who received one or more doses of vaccine.

Borough/Census AreaNovember 29
Aleutians East Borough94%
Aleutians West Census Area72%
Anchorage Municipality66%
Bethel Census Area77%
Bristol Bay plus Lake and Peninsula75%
Denali Borough75%
Dillingham Census Area61%
Fairbanks North Star Borough53%
Haines Borough71%
Juneau City and Borough81%
Kenai Peninsula Borough50%
Ketchikan Gateway Borough68%
Kodiak Island Borough70%
Kusilvak Census Area79%
Matanuska-Susitna Borough44%
Nome Census Area80%
North Slope Borough41%
Northwest Arctic Borough64%
Petersburg Borough67%
Prince of Wales-Hyder Census Area68%
Sitka City and Borough80%
Skagway Municipality79%
Southeast Fairbanks Census Area38%
Valdez-Cordova Census Area64%
Wrangell City and Borough64%
Yakutat plus Hoonah-Angoon78%
Yukon-Koyukuk Census Area80%
Statewide61%

New Hospitalizations and Deaths

  • Cumulative hospitalizations increased by 52 to 3,053. Hospitalization reports often lag when a case was initially reported.
  • 8.7% of hospitalized patients in Alaska had COVID-19 as of November 30, 2021.
  • On November 27th there were 80 persons with COVID-19 in AK hospitals, which is a 22.3% decrease relative to the week before when there were 103 persons hospitalized.
  • The cumulative number of COVID-19 deaths among Alaska residents increased by 16 to 848. It is common to take some time for a death to be reported and verified, and deaths that occurred during November 21–November 27 may be reported in the future after death certificates are reviewed.

Total Confirmed COVID Beds Occupied

Variant Tracking

The most recent Genomic Surveillance data can be found on the “COVID-19 Variants” tab of the Cases Dashboard.

Variants of ConcernCases IdentifiedChange from Previous ReportFirst Identified in Alaska
Delta (B.1.617.2-like)5,595+25230 May 2021
 
Variants Being MonitoredCases IdentifiedChange from Previous ReportFirst Identified in Alaska
Alpha (B.1.1.7)463020 December 2020
Beta (B.1.351)7020 March 2021
Epsilon (B.1.427/429)138024 December 2020
Eta (B.1.525)1016 March 2021
Gamma (P.1/P.1.1/P.1.2)76+18 February 2021
Iota (B.1.526)2404 February 2021
Mu (B.1.621)16106 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.
  • Alaska residents who are fully vaccinated are much less likely to be hospitalized due to COVID-19 than those who are not fully vaccinated. (Age-standardized per capita rates of COVID-19 hospitalizations by vaccination status are updated monthly.)

  • The following updated VB data are among Alaska residents aged ≥12 years with a specimen collection date from January 16–November 27, 2021. (Children ages 5 to 11 are not included because at this time they have not been eligible for vaccination long enough to become fully vaccinated.)
  • From January 16–November 27, 2021, 100 deaths, 300 hospitalizations, and 23,729 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 78,298 cases, 1,873 hospitalizations, and 540 deaths were reported.
  • 70% of all cases, 84% of all hospitalizations, and 81% of deaths among Alaska residents aged ≥12 years from January 16–November 27, 2021 were in people who were not fully vaccinated. 
  • More detailed information about hospitalizations, deaths, repeat and vaccine breakthrough infections among Alaska residents can also be found in the monthly report, which has been updated to include data through October.

Age-standardized per capita rates of COVID-19 cases by vaccination status are updated weekly. Some COVID-19 cases with specimen collection in the immediate past week (indicated by the grey box) may have not yet been reported or counted

  • The following table shows by region the number of vaccine breakthrough cases, the number of cases among persons aged ≥12 years who are not fully vaccinated, and the number of cases among children 11 years and younger who are not fully vaccinated. (Children 5 to 11 years old have not been eligible for vaccination long enough to be considered fully vaccinated).
 Cases (November 21–November 27)
RegionVaccine breakthrough
(≥12 years)
Not fully vaccinated
(≥12 years old)
Not fully vaccinated
(<12 years old)
Anchorage Municipality228256128
Fairbanks North Star Borough456017
Juneau City and Borough222012
Kenai Peninsula Borough22459
Matanuska-Susitna Borough5319540
Northwest Region834045
Other Interior Region14226
Other Southeast Region – Northern20275
Other Southeast Region – Southern264212
Southwest Region******
Y-K Delta Region703757

**To protect privacy, data are excluded from rows in which any value is <5.

  • A variety of factors may affect the proportion of vaccine breakthrough cases by region. In communities with higher vaccination coverage, a larger proportion of cases is expected to occur among fully vaccinated persons. Other potential factors include the extent of prior infection in a region and differences in testing practices between regions.

COVID-19 Communication Resources

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

Cases by Week of Onset and Age

Note: Quality assurance efforts are ongoing to attribute cases to the correct date on the onset date epi curve. Some recent cases will be reattributed to different weeks.

Note: Quality assurance efforts are ongoing to attribute cases to the correct date on the onset date epi curve. Some recent cases will be reattributed to different weeks. Race abbreviations include AI/AN (American Indian or Alaska Native), Asian/NHOPI (Asian, Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander), and UI/Unknown (Under investigation or unknown).

Additional ECHO session details:

These ECHO sessions are produced and facilitated by UAA’s Center for Human Development Alaska ECHO project in partnership with the State of Alaska, Department of Health & Social Services

Important Note: Most Division of Public Health ECHO series will be taking a break from December 20-December 31 for the winter holidays. Please check individual ECHO registration pages for additional information on holiday scheduling.

Our upcoming Palliative Care ECHO will focus on POLST in anticipation of Alaska’s transition from Comfort One to POLST in 2022. During our session participants will have an opportunity to hear from guest speakers who will share their experiences and knowledge of implementing a state-wide POLST program, and be available to answer questions. 

Cindy Bruzzese, MPA, MSB, HEC-C, Executive Director & Clinical Ethicist at the Vermont Ethics Network, will present a didactic on their state’s roll out and approach to state-wide education, and Sharmon Figenshaw, ARNP ACHPN and Hillary Walker, OTL, will provide case presentations.

Series to highlight:

Palliative Care ECHO: Implementing a State-Wide POLST Program
Tuesday Dec. 7th 12-1 p.m.
Our upcoming Palliative Care ECHO will focus on POLST in anticipation of Alaska’s transition from Comfort One to POLST in 2022. During our session participants will have an opportunity to hear from guest speakers who will share their experiences and knowledge of implementing a state-wide POLST program, and be available to answer questions.

Cindy Bruzzese, MPA, MSB, HEC-C, Executive Director & Clinical Ethicist at the Vermont Ethics Network, will present a didactic on their state’s roll out and approach to state-wide education, and Sharmon Figenshaw, ARNP ACHPN and Hillary Walker, OTL, will provide case presentations.

Alaska Medical Provider ECHO: Long COVID
Tuesday Dec 7th 7-8:15 p.m
Please join us for a special ECHO session focusing on Long COVID, featuring a presentation by our guest expert Greg Vanichkachorn, M.D., M.P.H., medical director of the Mayo Clinic COVID Activity Rehabilitation Program. Dr. Vanichkachorn will provide an overview of Long COVID and how post-COVID symptoms impact patients, and will be available to answer questions during the Q&A portion of our session.

Regular Series

Alaska Medical Provider ECHO (formerly COVID-19 for AK Healthcare Providers)
Monthly on the 1st Tuesday of the month from 7-8 pm
This ECHO aims to increase knowledge and share best practices among medical providers across Alaska as well as to increase access to information for those living in rural areas of the state.

Vaccine ECHO for Providers
Weekly on Tuesday from 2-3 p.m. Register
The Vaccine ECHO for providers provides planning and operation updates to vaccine providers across Alaska, while answering any questions you may have.

Palliative Care ECHO
Monthly on the first Tuesday from 12-1 p.m.
This monthly ECHO is for all Alaskan healthcare disciplines supporting patients with serious illness, and aims to provide support and up-to-date information regarding Palliative Care during this period of COVID-19. Our next session will include a didactic presentation Meeting People Where They Are: Providing Palliative Care to Rural Populations by guest presenter Nancy Joiner APRN, ACHPN from the University of North Dakota’s Center for Rural Health.

Public Science ECHO
Weekly on Wednesday from 12-1 p.m. register via Zoom
The Alaska Public Health Science ECHO is a virtual learning network intended for the general public to interface with our Public Health Leadership Team to explore the science of the COVID-19 virus, other public health topics, and current best practices. Or view via concurrent livestream to Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/akechoprograms

Local Government Public Health ECHO
Monthly on the third Wednesday from 3-4 p.m. Register
The Local Government Public Health Analysis ECHO is a virtual learning environment intended for local Alaska government leaders to interact with the State Public Health Leadership team and focuses on pandemic mitigation tools available, and how to use them.

Long Term Care Facilities ECHO 
Second Wednesday of the month from 4-5 p.m. Register 
Please join other staff and administrators of Alaska’s assisted living homes and residential care facilities to gather, learn, share, and grow. COVID has disrupted the fabric of our daily life and we can always learn from each other as we adjust to the new normal.

Healthcare Specific Situational Awareness ECHO
Weekly on Thursday from 12-1 p.m.  Register
The Healthcare Specific Situational ECHO is a virtual learning network intended for healthcare professionals to interface with our Public Health Leadership Team to explore current best practices and the most recent information related to Public Health.

Perinatal ECHO
Monthly on 3rd Thursday from 6-7 p.m. Register
The Alaska Perinatal ECHO is a virtual learning network intended for medical providers caring for pregnant patients and their newborns.

EMS ECHO
Monthly on the 1st and 3rd Wednesday 1-2 p.m Register
The EMS ECHO is a virtual learning network intended for Emergency Medical Services and related personnel in Alaska to amplify best practices. Sessions are topic-driven and typically include a guest presenter or a brief lecture with an interactive case or process discussion.

Co-Occurring Behavioral Health, Opioid and Stimulant Use Disorders ECHO Returning with new didactics!
1st & 3rd Wednesdays from 12:00pm-1:00pm, November 3, 2021 – April 20, 2022
The Co-Occurring Behavioral Health (COBH), Opioid and Stimulant Use Disorders ECHO facilitates a virtual network for behavioral health providers to learn best practice care through real-time access to experienced subject matter experts and their peers. Each session includes a brief lecture, de-identified case presentation for participants to receive feedback on complex cases, and open discussion facilitated by an interdisciplinary team.

Data Waivers ECHO New ECHO!
2nd Wednesdays from 12:00pm-1:00pm, November 10, 2021 – September 14, 2022
The Data Waivers ECHO facilitates a virtual network for clinical providers to learn and implement best practices for offering buprenorphine and other medically assisted treatment (MAT) services under a data waiver. Each session includes a brief lecture, de-identified case presentation for participants to receive feedback on complex cases, and open discussion facilitated by an interdisciplinary team.

NEWS RELEASE: December 1 Unified Command Meeting

UNIFIED COMMAND TALKS DHSS COVID-19 DASHBOARD CHANGES AND VACCINATIONS

SITKA, December 1, 2021 – Public Health Nurse Denise Ewing reported Pfizer vaccinations for children ages 5 to 11 had been going well. She had been and would continue to travel to small rural communities to vaccinate. She stated all seafood plants had their vaccinations. She noted that the case count had been fluctuating and was doing so without having a select group of people or organizations, but rather it was family units and travel related.

Shoshauna Schmidt filling in for Dr. Bruhl, Southeast Alaska Regional Health Consortium (SEARHC) Chief Medical Officer and Incident Commander reported zero COVID-19 positive patients at the hospital.

Public Information Officers Melissa Henshaw and Jessica Ieremia relayed information from the Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS) with regards to their COVID-19 dashboard beginning December 6 of being updated on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday only. DHSS stated that the change was being made for sustainability of staff and because weekly data was more helpful for understanding trends. Henshaw told of social media posts with regards to the changing alert levels and mask mandate among others. Ieremia stated an uptick in questions for callers of where to find testing especially with rapid testing for events.

Thor Christianson, Logistics reported some supply chain issues and long lead times especially with regards to defibrillator pads.

Janelle Vanasse, Superintendent of Mt. Edgecumbe High School (MEHS) reported zero positive cases on campus this week. She stated nearly all students stayed on campus for the holiday. She noted extensive testing would take place next week to make sure to catch any COVID-19 positive cases prior to the holiday break in order to manage it. The plan would be for all students to go home for the holiday without delay.

Sitka School District (SSD) Superintendent Frank Hauser thanked the SSD bus drivers and city crews for the snow removal and sanding of the roads. He reported zero COVID-19 positive cases associated with SSD buildings. He stated students were in person and learning and enjoying the snow at recess. They were waiting for more information of changes from the state as heard about at the recent Assembly meeting which may have a favorable impact on the alert levels moving forward in the new year.

Travis Miller, Sitka Tribe of Alaska (STA) reported continued testing of staff and status quo.

Henshaw for Trish White, Harry Race Pharmacist reported lots of booster doses and younger children vaccinations with about 2 to 3 of first time doses at every clinic. Clinics were being held each Friday, but they would probably take off Christmas Eve. The public may sign up at http://www.sitkapharmacies.com.

Incident Commander Craig Warren reported Unified Command was and would continue to meet every few weeks so that if issues were to arise, a meeting could come together quickly.

Due to the High Alert Level in Sitka, Sitka Unified Command recommends continued mitigation: face coverings are strongly encouraged for individuals regardless of vaccination status, maintaining physical distance of 6 feet along with following CDC guidelines CDC Guidelines.

We urge citizens to remain diligent and practice proper hygiene measures, such as washing your hands often, avoiding close contact with others. In addition, get tested but stay home if you feel ill, wear a face covering when around others, and clean and disinfect objects and surfaces on a regular basis.

COVID-19 symptoms are similar to the flu – fever, aching, cough, sore throat, shortness of breath, and sometimes decreased sense of taste and smell. If you are concerned you might have contracted the coronavirus contact the COVID hotline at 966.8799. Outside of normal clinic hours, patients can contact the SEARHC 24/7 Nurse Advice Line at 1.800.613.0560 to be triaged by a registered nurse. 

The Sitka Emergency Unified Command continues to urge citizens to enroll for a vaccination online with Harry Race Pharmacy at Harry Race Pharmacy and with SEARHC at https://covid19.searhc.org/. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), COVID-19 vaccines have demonstrated to be safe and effective. COVID-19 vaccines reduce the risk of people spreading the virus. Being vaccinated is the best way to protect our community.

The Emergency Operations Center encourages residents to prepare for any local emergency by ensuring each family member has a 14- day emergency supply kit, including any necessary medications.

For information on the local pandemic response, visit https://cityofsitka.org or https://covid19.searhc.org.

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