Updated: 37 minutes ago Published: 37 minutes ago
Alaska reported 558 COVID-19 cases on Monday over a three-day period over the weekend and no deaths as the number of people hospitalized with the coronavirus rose slightly.
The state reported 198 new cases for Sunday, 51 for Saturday and 309 for Friday, according to the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services. It wasn’t immediately clear why Saturday’s cases were unusually low.
The state reported Monday that 77 people statewide had been hospitalized with active infections, up from 71 patients late last week. Just over 8% of all hospitalized patients in the state are COVID positive. Those numbers don’t include some people who are recovering from the disease and need ongoing care.
Those numbers represent a significant drop from the high average of more than 200 people hospitalized in September and October.
The state’s test positivity rate, which reflects the number of positive tests out of the total, stood at 4.84% on Friday, falling below 5% for the first time since July, when a rise related to the delta variant began. That 5% threshold could indicate high transmission and not enough testing, epidemiologists say.
As of Friday, Alaska ranked 29th among the states for the seven-day COVID-19 case rate, with 255.1 cases per 100,000 people. New cases dropped about 25% since last week.
Alaska health officials continue to monitor for the new ommicron strain of the coronavirus that is raising questions and concerns around the world, state health officials say. Omicron has been found in many states, but not yet in Alaska.
State health officials, at a briefing late last week, encouraged Alaskans who want to protect themselves against the omicron variant to get vaccinated or get booster shots against COVID-19 and take the same measures — masking, social distancing, good hygiene — known for is that they help prevent the spread of existing variants.
About 62% of Alaskans ages 5 and older have received one dose of the injection, while 56% are considered fully vaccinated. Alaska is currently in the bottom third of the nation — at 32nd — for its vaccination rate.
According to state data, between mid-January and late November, 70% of all COVID-19 cases, 84% of hospitalizations and 81% of deaths among Alaskans 12 years and older who were not fully vaccinated accounted for 70% of all cases of COVID-19.
As of Monday, the state’s health department has transitioned to updating its COVID-19 dashboards three times a week, on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.