COVID-19 Alaska Weekly Case Update: October 31 — November 6, 2021

Alaska Weekly Update

Alaska Department of Health & Social Services Weekly Case Update
October 31 — November 6, 2021

Intermediate Statewide transmission
Rt0.91
HIGH Statewide alert status 548.4HIGH ALERT Hospital capacityHIGH Test positivity
7.6%
59%
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 hospitals in Anchorage were at surge capacity the weekend of November 6th and November 7th due to high volumes of both COVID and non-COVID patients.Red->5%
Orange- 2-5%
Yellow- <2%
This includes people with at least one dose. Estimated AK population aged 5+ and older of 680,580 from the AK Department of Labor & Workforce Development.
  • Alaska currently has the fourth highest number of cases in the last seven days per 100,000 population among the 50 states.
  • Hospital capacity is reaching a point in Alaska where 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 6, 2021, unvaccinated and partially vaccinated patients had a median age 14 years younger than fully vaccinated patients.

  • Very high levels of COVID-19 transmission are occurring throughout much of Alaska.
  • 4,046 cases were reported in Alaskans the week of October 31–November 6. This is an 8.4% 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 five largest boroughs (Anchorage Municipality, Matanuska-Susitna Borough, Fairbanks North Star Borough, Kenai Peninsula Borough, and City and Borough of Juneau), the number of new COVID-19 cases each week remains very high but appears to be declining. Regardless of the trajectories, intense community transmission is continuing to occur and is 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. While many boroughs and census areas are seeing either declining or generally stable numbers of COVID-19 cases each week, there are areas with week-over-week increases in cases, including Nome Census Area, Prince of Wales-Hyder Census Area, and Petersburg Borough.

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. 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
October 19
Alert Level
October 25
Alert Level
November 1
Alert Level
November 8
CountRateCountRateCountRateCountRate
Anchorage Municipality2,322803.51,928667.21,635565.81,401484.8
Fairbanks North Star Borough744765.8481495.1431443.6515530.1
Juneau City and Borough178560.2145456.4124390.375236.0
Kenai Peninsula Borough484821.3482817.9423717.8275466.6
Matanuska-Susitna Region1,2171,134.2760708.3820764.2694646.8
Nome Census Area85870.11071,095.31982,026.82312,364.6
North Slope Borough67685.771726.675767.653542.4
Northwest Arctic Borough1161,529.7911,200.11331,753.91141,503.4
Chugach Census Area55814.747696.232474.024355.5
Copper River Census Area18666.9*341,259.726963.322815.1
Denali Borough7387.6*6332.2*3**11609.1*
Southeast Fairbanks Census Area41591.039562.2881,268.642605.4
Yukon-Koyukuk Census Area33654.218356.9*39773.236713.7
Haines Borough1**2**2**4**
Petersburg Borough3**6188.1*6188.1*491,536.5
Sitka City and Borough9105.6*24281.618211.2*782.1*
Skagway Municipality0**6523.1*11959.0*1**
Wrangell City and Borough1**4**8336.3*8336.3*
Yakutat plus Hoonah-Angoon19717.5*7264.4*8302.1*7264.4*
Ketchikan Gateway Borough46336.389650.734248.649358.3
Prince of Wales-Hyder Census Area7114.9*16262.7*9147.8*30492.6
Bethel Census Area1901,063.4152850.7161901.12241,253.6
Kusilvak Census Area68840.860741.829358.645556.4
Aleutians East Borough0**0**3**6205.1*
Aleutians West Census Area8144.3*3**0**4**
Dillingham Census Area651,361.8921,927.542879.910209.5*
Kodiak Island Borough100793.0111880.244348.947372.7
Bristol Bay plus Lake and Peninsula281,157.0361,487.6271,115.713537.2*
Statewide5,912811.14,817660.94,430607.83,997548.4

*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. Scientific studies have shown that two doses of an mRNA vaccine are more effective than one dose of an mRNA vaccine, especially against emerging variants of concern.
  • CDC recommends that people with moderately to severely compromised immune systems receive an additional dose of mRNA COVID-19 vaccine at least 28 days after a second dose of an mRNA vaccine.
  • Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccine booster doses are authorized and recommended for certain persons who received the primary series of an mRNA (Pfizer or Moderna) vaccine ≥6 months ago. Those eligible for a booster dose include: 
    • Persons aged ≥65 years, persons aged 18+ who live in long-term care settings, persons aged 18+ who have underlying medical conditions, and persons aged 18+ who work or live in high-risk settings. Caregivers of people at increased risk for serious disease also qualify.
  • For people who received the Janssen (Johnson & Johnson) COVID-19 vaccine, booster doses are recommended for everyone 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.
  • 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 12
Aleutians East Borough92%
Aleutians West Census Area72%
Anchorage Municipality64%
Bethel Census Area73%
Bristol Bay plus Lake and Peninsula87%
Denali Borough71%
Dillingham Census Area60%
Fairbanks North Star Borough51%
Haines Borough70%
Juneau City and Borough79%
Kenai Peninsula Borough49%
Ketchikan Gateway Borough66%
Kodiak Island Borough69%
Kusilvak Census Area74%
Matanuska-Susitna Borough42%
Nome Census Area76%
North Slope Borough39%
Northwest Arctic Borough62%
Petersburg Borough65%
Prince of Wales-Hyder Census Area66%
Sitka City and Borough79%
Skagway Municipality78%
Southeast Fairbanks Census Area37%
Valdez-Cordova Census Area63%
Wrangell City and Borough63%
Yakutat plus Hoonah-Angoon77%
Yukon-Koyukuk Census Area78%
Statewide59%

New Hospitalizations and Deaths

  • Cumulative hospitalizations increased by 77 to 2,855. Hospitalization reports often lag when a case was initially reported.
  • 14.4% of hospitalized patients in Alaska had COVID-19 as of November 9, 2021.
  • On November 6th there were 129 persons with COVID-19 in AK hospitals, which is a 28.7% decrease relative to the week before when there were 181 persons hospitalized.
  • The cumulative number of COVID-19 deaths among Alaska residents increased by 62 to 764. It is common to take some time for a death to be reported and verified, and deaths that occurred during October 31–November 6 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 new Cases Dashboard.

Variants of ConcernCases IdentifiedChange from Previous ReportFirst Identified in Alaska
Delta (B.1.617.2-like)4,794+30330 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)140024 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–November 6, 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 6, 2021, 94 deaths, 258 hospitalizations, and 21,175 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 72,551 cases, 1,676 hospitalizations, and 488 deaths were reported.
  • 71% of all cases, 85% of all hospitalizations, and 81% of deaths among Alaska residents aged ≥12 years from January 16–November 6, 2021 were in people who were not fully vaccinated. 
  • More detailed information about hospitalizations, deaths, and vaccine breakthrough infections and reinfections among Alaska residents can also be found in the monthly report, which has been updated to include data through September.
  • 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.

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

Additional informational resources:

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

Alaska Weekly Update Alaska Department of Health & Social Services Weekly Case Update
October 31 — November 6, 2021 Intermediate Statewide transmission
Rt0.91
HIGH Statewide alert status 548.4 HIGH ALERT Hospital capacity HIGH Test positivity
7.6%
59%
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 hospitals in Anchorage were at surge capacity the weekend of November 6th and November 7th due to high volumes of both COVID and non-COVID patients. Red->5%
Orange- 2-5%
Yellow- <2% This includes people with at least one dose. Estimated AK population aged 5+ and older of 680,580 from the AK Department of Labor & Workforce Development. Case Trends Alaska currently has the fourth highest number of cases in the last seven days per 100,000 population among the 50 states. Hospital capacity is reaching a point in Alaska where 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 6, 2021, unvaccinated and partially vaccinated patients had a median age 14 years younger than fully vaccinated patients. Very high levels of COVID-19 transmission are occurring throughout much of Alaska. 4,046 cases were reported in Alaskans the week of October 31–November 6. This is an 8.4% 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 five largest boroughs (Anchorage Municipality, Matanuska-Susitna Borough, Fairbanks North Star Borough, Kenai Peninsula Borough, and City and Borough of Juneau), the number of new COVID-19 cases each week remains very high but appears to be declining. Regardless of the trajectories, intense community transmission is continuing to occur and is 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. While many boroughs and census areas are seeing either declining or generally stable numbers of COVID-19 cases each week, there are areas with week-over-week increases in cases, including Nome Census Area, Prince of Wales-Hyder Census Area, and Petersburg Borough. 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. 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. 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 Area Alert Level
October 19
Alert Level
October 25
Alert Level
November 1
Alert Level
November 8
Count Rate Count Rate Count Rate Count Rate Anchorage Municipality 2,322 803.5 1,928 667.2 1,635 565.8 1,401 484.8 Fairbanks North Star Borough 744 765.8 481 495.1 431 443.6 515 530.1 Juneau City and Borough 178 560.2 145 456.4 124 390.3 75 236.0 Kenai Peninsula Borough 484 821.3 482 817.9 423 717.8 275 466.6 Matanuska-Susitna Region 1,217 1,134.2 760 708.3 820 764.2 694 646.8 Nome Census Area 85 870.1 107 1,095.3 198 2,026.8 231 2,364.6 North Slope Borough 67 685.7 71 726.6 75 767.6 53 542.4 Northwest Arctic Borough 116 1,529.7 91 1,200.1 133 1,753.9 114 1,503.4 Chugach Census Area 55 814.7 47 696.2 32 474.0 24 355.5 Copper River Census Area 18 666.9* 34 1,259.7 26 963.3 22 815.1 Denali Borough 7 387.6* 6 332.2* 3 ** 11 609.1* Southeast Fairbanks Census Area 41 591.0 39 562.2 88 1,268.6 42 605.4 Yukon-Koyukuk Census Area 33 654.2 18 356.9* 39 773.2 36 713.7 Haines Borough 1 ** 2 ** 2 ** 4 ** Petersburg Borough 3 ** 6 188.1* 6 188.1* 49 1,536.5 Sitka City and Borough 9 105.6* 24 281.6 18 211.2* 7 82.1* Skagway Municipality 0 ** 6 523.1* 11 959.0* 1 ** Wrangell City and Borough 1 ** 4 ** 8 336.3* 8 336.3* Yakutat plus Hoonah-Angoon 19 717.5* 7 264.4* 8 302.1* 7 264.4* Ketchikan Gateway Borough 46 336.3 89 650.7 34 248.6 49 358.3 Prince of Wales-Hyder Census Area 7 114.9* 16 262.7* 9 147.8* 30 492.6 Bethel Census Area 190 1,063.4 152 850.7 161 901.1 224 1,253.6 Kusilvak Census Area 68 840.8 60 741.8 29 358.6 45 556.4 Aleutians East Borough 0 ** 0 ** 3 ** 6 205.1* Aleutians West Census Area 8 144.3* 3 ** 0 ** 4 ** Dillingham Census Area 65 1,361.8 92 1,927.5 42 879.9 10 209.5* Kodiak Island Borough 100 793.0 111 880.2 44 348.9 47 372.7 Bristol Bay plus Lake and Peninsula 28 1,157.0 36 1,487.6 27 1,115.7 13 537.2* Statewide 5,912 811.1 4,817 660.9 4,430 607.8 3,997 548.4 *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. Scientific studies have shown that two doses of an mRNA vaccine are more effective than one dose of an mRNA vaccine, especially against emerging variants of concern. CDC recommends that people with moderately to severely compromised immune systems receive an additional dose of mRNA COVID-19 vaccine at least 28 days after a second dose of an mRNA vaccine. Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccine booster doses are authorized and recommended for certain persons who received the primary series of an mRNA (Pfizer or Moderna) vaccine ≥6 months ago. Those eligible for a booster dose include:  Persons aged ≥65 years, persons aged 18+ who live in long-term care settings, persons aged 18+ who have underlying medical conditions, and persons aged 18+ who work or live in high-risk settings. Caregivers of people at increased risk for serious disease also qualify. For people who received the Janssen (Johnson & Johnson) COVID-19 vaccine, booster doses are recommended for everyone 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. 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 Area November 12 Aleutians East Borough 92% Aleutians West Census Area 72% Anchorage Municipality 64% Bethel Census Area 73% Bristol Bay plus Lake and Peninsula 87% Denali Borough 71% Dillingham Census Area 60% Fairbanks North Star Borough 51% Haines Borough 70% Juneau City and Borough 79% Kenai Peninsula Borough 49% Ketchikan Gateway Borough 66% Kodiak Island Borough 69% Kusilvak Census Area 74% Matanuska-Susitna Borough 42% Nome Census Area 76% North Slope Borough 39% Northwest Arctic Borough 62% Petersburg Borough 65% Prince of Wales-Hyder Census Area 66% Sitka City and Borough 79% Skagway Municipality 78% Southeast Fairbanks Census Area 37% Valdez-Cordova Census Area 63% Wrangell City and Borough 63% Yakutat plus Hoonah-Angoon 77% Yukon-Koyukuk Census Area 78% Statewide 59% New Hospitalizations and Deaths Cumulative hospitalizations increased by 77 to 2,855. Hospitalization reports often lag when a case was initially reported. 14.4% of hospitalized patients in Alaska had COVID-19 as of November 9, 2021. On November 6th there were 129 persons with COVID-19 in AK hospitals, which is a 28.7% decrease relative to the week before when there were 181 persons hospitalized. The cumulative number of COVID-19 deaths among Alaska residents increased by 62 to 764. It is common to take some time for a death to be reported and verified, and deaths that occurred during October 31–November 6 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 new Cases Dashboard. Variants of Concern Cases Identified Change from Previous Report First Identified in Alaska Delta (B.1.617.2-like) 4,794 +303 30 May 2021   Variants Being Monitored Cases Identified Change from Previous Report First Identified in Alaska Alpha (B.1.1.7) 463 0 20 December 2020 Beta (B.1.351) 7 0 20 March 2021 Epsilon (B.1.427/429) 140 0 24 December 2020 Eta (B.1.525) 1 0 16 March 2021 Gamma (P.1/P.1.1/P.1.2) 76 0 8 February 2021 Iota (B.1.526) 24 0 4 February 2021 Mu (B.1.621) 161 0 6 May 2021 Zeta (P.2) 4 0 27 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 6, 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 6, 2021, 94 deaths, 258 hospitalizations, and 21,175 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 72,551 cases, 1,676 hospitalizations, and 488 deaths were reported. 71% of all cases, 85% of all hospitalizations, and 81% of deaths among Alaska residents aged ≥12 years from January 16–November 6, 2021 were in people who were not fully vaccinated.  More detailed information about hospitalizations, deaths, and vaccine breakthrough infections and reinfections among Alaska residents can also be found in the monthly report, which has been updated to include data through September. 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. COVID-19 Communication Resources New video PSAs to share: Why Not Get Vaccinated? COVID-19 Vaccines for Ages 5+ COVID-19 Boosters Delta Variant Get Your Flu Shot: Easy and Effective Immunize and Winterize Layer up, Alaska!  New Flyer: 5 Reasons to Vaccinate for Ages 5+ Revised COVID-19 Webpage: COVID-19 Prevention New social media posts to share: Stay Healthy Alaska | Who’s Got Time for the Flu? |Help Protect Our Health Care System by Getting a Flu Shot Request support from DHSS DHSS offers free presentations upon request to groups about COVID-19, the vaccines, COVID-19 prevention, or other health topics upon request. Learn more or request a presentation on our Speaker’s Bureau web page.  DHSS offers support for one-time or reoccurring COVID-19 vaccination events. Submit your request for support and provide information about the event by filling out this form. Can’t tune into a live ECHO videoconference but don’t want to miss out on the latest updates? The full schedule of ECHO sessions and access to COVID-19 ECHO videos and slideshows are available for download anytime on the DHSS ECHO web page. 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: The State of Alaska COVID-19 vaccine status update page The State of Alaska COVID-19 information page provides more information about the virus and how individuals and businesses can protect themselves and others from transmission.  For the most up-to-date case information, see the Alaska Coronavirus Response Hub dashboard: data.coronavirus.alaska.gov. All dashboard data are updated Monday through Friday. For DHSS media inquiries, please contact clinton.bennett@alaska.gov 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
Session information and recordings of previous ECHO sessions
subscribe to ECHO calendar updates | email: echo@alaskachd.org | website: akecho.org Upcoming Session Highlights: Data Waivers ECHO New ECHO!
2nd Wednesdays from 12:00pm-1:00pm, November 10, 2021 – September 14, 2022
Next session: Nov. 10th
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.
Our upcoming November 10th session will include a presentation on the Rules and Regulations of Buprenorphine by Dr. Mark Simon. Alaska Perinatal ECHO
Monthly on 3rd Thursday from 6-7 p.m. Register
Next Session: November 18th
Please join us for the next Perinatal ECHO on Preventing Preterm Births in Alaska on November 18th 6:00-7:00pm! This session will feature a didactic presentation by Dr. Jodi Abbott, Maternal Fetal Medicine Physician and Director of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Boston Medical Center and Associate Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Boston University School of Medicine. This session will also include Alaska preterm birth data presented by Margaret Young, State of Alaska MCH Epidemiology Unit Manager and a case presentation by Dr. Ellie Hogenson, OB/GYN at Fairbanks Memorial Hospital. As always, we will have ample time for Q&A and discussion with presenters and the hub team. Regular Series Alaska Medical Provider ECHO (formerly COVID-19 for AK Healthcare Providers)
Bi-monthly on the 1st and 3rd 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. 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 
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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
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News Release February 17: Unified Command Meeting

UNIFIED COMMAND DISCUSSES EXPIRATION OF DISASTER DECLARATION AND NEW HEALTH ADVISORIES

SITKA, February 17, 2021  – Incident Commander, John Leach reported Sitka was at a Low Alert Level and Sitka’s case rate continued to decrease. He announced that while in Low Alert, Unified Command would meet every other Wednesday. Since the last meeting, the State’s Emergency Declaration had expired, and four new Health Advisories had been issued. With the Disaster Declaration expiration, Leach stated initially he was concerned about three things:  1) continued airport testing 2) receipt of vaccine allocations 3) FEMA reimbursement if no State Declaration in place. That said, Leach was confident with where things were at (airport testing and vaccine distribution were still happening). He noted he had heard of a possible extension of the Disaster Declaration and that it may be back dated retroactively to the date it had expired. With regards to FEMA reimbursement, he noted spending had been minimal except for emergency personnel overtime. He shared Sitka’s vaccination rate was over 50%.

Leach noted as of February 11, the CDC guidance related to quarantine had been updated to read:

  1. People who have been in close contact with someone who has COVID-19, excluding people who have had COVID-19 within the  past 3 months and people who have tested positive for COVID-19 within the past 3 months and recovered do not have to quarantine or get tested again as long as they do not develop new symptoms.
  2. People who develop symptoms again within 3 months of their first bout with COVID-19 may need to be tested again if there is no other cause identified for their symptoms.
  3. People who have been in close contact with someone who has COVID-19 are not required to quarantine if they have been fully vaccinated against the disease within the last 3 months and show no symptoms.

The CDC and Sitka Unified Command recommend continued mitigation guidance along with getting vaccinated. To stay informed visit our COVID-19 Dashboard at https://cityofsitka.org/.

Public Information Officers, Jessica Ieremia and Sara Peterson reminded the public that even though the Disaster Declaration had expired, a pandemic still exists, and people needed to continue to do the right thing and take mitigation efforts against the disease.

Public Health Nurse, Denise Ewing confirmed that case numbers continued to be low and Public Health was focusing on contact tracing and COVID-19 education. She shared her vaccination effort in small rural communities continues.  The first two weeks of March she was scheduled to be in Point Baker and Port Protection. The State was currently in Tier 1B with seafood processers and essential workers over the age of 50 able to receive a vaccination. Ewing reminded the public that the vaccine is a tremendous layer of protection along with masking and social distancing.

John Holst, Superintendent of the Sitka School District said the High School was starting to make plans for graduation. School was in progress and their main concern right now was the more contagious variants. Holst was happy to report that staff Immunization rate was over 85%. 

Amy Ainslie, Unit Resource Leader shared there were 12 organizations taking part of the Sitka COVID Conscious Business Program. She encouraged businesses interested in applying to visit cityofsitka.org and click on the Sitka COVID Conscious Business Program link at the top of the page. For questions email covidconscious@cityofsitka.org.

Craig Warren, Operations Section Chief reported that with the decrease in cases the Fire Department was not seeing many COVID-19 patients being transferred in or out of Sitka. He reported Silver Bay Seafoods was bringing in 135 employees for the herring season and they were planning to remain at status quo with their 2020 mitigation strategy. He reiterated all processors in Sitka were committed to keeping the community safe.   Warren reminded Sitkans that the vaccine was not a force field. Even if you’ve received a vaccine you can still become infected and may transmit the virus. Warren said he would keep the station closed to the public but in March the Firehall would be opened for training volunteers in the field.  

Janelle Vanasse, Superintendent of Mt. Edgecumbe High School relayed the school was thrilled Sitka had moved to Low Alert and the students could now visit town. Vanasse said students were competing in sports and it was working out well. Mt. Edgecumbe has planned an in-person graduation however understand things could change due to COVID-19. The school has remained in communication about potential changes with parents. Parents have been interested in what the vaccines mean for them being able to come visit their children and attend graduation. Vanasse stated parents were still required to test but if they were fully vaccinated, parents would not need to quarantine before coming on campus.

Maegan Bosak, SEARHC Liaison shared that as of February 17, in Sitka, 48,683 COVID tests had been completed. To date there had been 3,050 first doses and 1,692 second doses completed in Sitka.  SEARHC continued to have vaccine clinics happening through February. The clinics averaged about 300 people per clinic. She said SEARHC was scheduling vaccinations for ages 16 and older. If interested in receiving the vaccine register at https://covid19.searhc.org and leave a valid email address.

Jay Sweeney, Finance Section Chief relayed the Finance Department received the last piece of backup for September 1 -December 31 project. The project would be sent to the Finance Director for a signature and then submitted to a State Department at Homeland Security for review. Wages for temporary EMS workers were the only expense being charged to FEMA at this time.

Unified Command recommends citizens to enroll for a vaccination online with Harry Race Pharmacy at Harry Race Pharmacy at Sitka Fire Hall and with SEARHC at https://covid19.searhc.org/.

We urge citizens to remain diligent and practice proper hygiene measures, such as washing your hands often, avoiding close contact with others and keeping your social circle small. In addition, 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 from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.  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 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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