COVID-19 hospitalizations decline even as Alaska reports second highest national case rate

The number of COVID-positive patients hospitalized in Alaska declined by 37% over seven-day period as cases fell slightly.

Here are a few main takeaways from the latest data available from the state Department of Health and Social Services:

• By Wednesday, there were 56 COVID-positive patients hospitalized around the state, a significant decrease from the 87 reported by the state a week earlier. Just over 6% of Alaska’s hospital patients were COVID-positive, and one required a ventilator.

• Alaska’s seven-day case rate per 100,000 people is second highest in the nation as of this week, behind Hawaii, according to a CDC tracker. Nationally, cases are increasing slightly.

• The state reported 3,323 cases in Alaska over a seven-day period, a decrease from 3,660 cases reported last week. This week’s total includes 2,271 cases among residents and 1,052 among nonresidents. That data doesn’t include at-home tests, which have become increasingly popular but don’t get reported.

• At least a fifth of Alaska’s recently sequenced cases are now caused by two relatively new and fast-spreading omicron subvariants, BA.4 and BA.5, which health officials have said appear to be among the most contagious variations of the virus yet, but have not been linked to more severe illness. The possibility of reinfection and antibody evasion appear to be higher for these variants, however.

• The state reported no new deaths linked to the virus. In total, 1,252 COVID-19 deaths among residents and 34 among nonresidents have been reported since March 2020. No virus-related deaths have been reported in the state since early May.

• Across the state, 65% of Alaskans 5 and up as well as military personnel had completed their primary vaccine series. About 29.6% were considered up to date on their vaccinations with at least one booster.

• Children and babies as young as 6 months are now eligible for COVID-19 vaccinations. Most vaccine appointments for this younger age group will need to be made with primary care providers and pediatricians. For a list of providers nearby, visit vaccines.gov.