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Alaska reported 27 more COVID-19 deaths and 863 cases over two days as case rates in the state continued to fall.
The latest figures included 850 cases among residents and a further 13 among non-residents, as well as 90 hospitalized COVID-positive patients across the country – a drop from 103 hospitalized on Monday.
In general, new case data do not reflect the number of people testing positive using home tests, which are becoming increasingly popular, as health officials are calling for frequent testing as a way to prevent viral spread.
Although it was not immediately clear how recently the recently reported deaths had occurred, the state now only reports COVID-related deaths on Wednesday. Since the pandemic began, a total of 1,108 Alaska residents and 33 non-residents have died from the virus.
Despite reporting fewer cases week by week, Alaska’s seven-day new cases are still the second highest in the country, behind Maine, according to a CDC tracker. That’s probably because Alaska’s omicron wave began and peaked a few weeks after other states, Dr. Joe McLaughlin, Alaska’s state epidemiologist, Wednesday.
“We are still experiencing higher activity than in other states in general. But we are certainly on a steep downward trajectory,” he said.
State health officials last week confirmed they monitor BA.2, the new “stealth” omicron subvariant that first arrived Alaska last month but does not appear to cause more serious illness than other strains.
State health officials said this week that N95 masks – which work particularly well to prevent omicrons from spreading between people – are now available for free at many grocery stores, pharmacies and public health centers around the state.
Data show that vaccines seem to work well against symptomatic infection, especially for people who have received boosters.
Unvaccinated Alaska residents are more than nine times more likely to be hospitalized because of COVID-19 than Alaska residents who are fully vaccinated, including boosters, according to the state. Unvaccinated Alaska residents are about two and a half times more likely to be hospitalized because of COVID-19 than Alaska residents who only completed their primary vaccination series.
As of Wednesday, 62.1% of eligible Alaskans had completed their primary vaccine series. Only 26.5% had received a booster.
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