Alaska’s COVID case rate ranks among highest in country

A woman receives a nasal swab COVID test outside of the Denali Federal Credit Union Operations Center. (Adam Nicely/Alaska Public Media)

The state health department on Wednesday reported 1,526 COVID-19 cases recorded over the prior seven days.

That’s an 18% increase compared to the week before. Alaska’s seven-day case rate is the fourth-highest in the country, according to the CDC. The data does not include at-home tests.

The state on Wednesday also reported 13 deaths. They included a woman in her 30s from Wasilla, a man from Anchorage in his 50s and a woman from Fairbanks in her 60s.

Twenty COVID patients are currently hospitalized, and five of them are on ventilators. Less than 2% of all hospitalized patients have COVID.

The health department’s variant dashboard shows more than 80% of cases are the BA.2 omicron variant.

At a public health presentation last week, chief medical officer Dr. Anne Zink said as mask requirements and other health mandates go away, it’s important to understand personal risk factors. She says age is still the biggest risk factor, followed by things like kidney disease or physical inactivity.

“So if you’re that super healthy 70-year-old runner who’s chopping wood every day, good for you, make sure you continue to stay physically active and mentally well,” she said. “But if you get COVID-19, seek treatment because you’re the person who’s really going to benefit from it.”

The department’s community case rates map shows certain areas of the state where the seven-day case rate is especially high. They include Nome, the Northwest Arctic Borough, Dillingham and the Southeast communities of Petersburg, Wrangell and Sitka.