As COVID cases and hospitalizations increase in Alaska, health officials urge caution for older adults

a person puts a bandaid on another person
Anchorage School District faculty nurse Kristin Studley (proper) administers the Moderna Covid-19 vaccination to Rae Hancock (left). Hancock was certainly one of 771 individuals who acquired vaccines on the ASD Education Center on Jan. 7, 2021. (Jeff Chen/Alaska Public Media)

COVID-19 instances are on the rise within the state. Health officers are encouraging Alaskans to resume their efforts to guard adults over 70.

The state division of well being reported 1,911 instances on Wednesday. That’s a 14% improve from the earlier week, and a 34% improve from this time final month. Those numbers don’t embrace optimistic at-home exams.

According to the division’s COVID dashboard, areas with the very best group case charges embrace Ketchikan, Denali, Bethel, Juneau, Yakutat, Haines and Skagway.

There are at the moment 46 folks hospitalized with COVID within the state. In a public well being presentation on Wednesday, state epidemiologist Dr. Anne Zink stated most of them are over 70 years outdated.

“Even if they’re vaccinated or boosted, we know that age is the biggest risk factor for COVID and severe COVID illness,” she stated.

The Alaska Department of Health and Social Services reported 1,911 instances between May 18 and 24. Those numbers don’t embrace optimistic at-home exams. (Screenshot from DHSS’s COVID-19 Dashboard.)

Zink stated Alaskans over 70 and people residing with older kinfolk ought to take into account doing extra to guard themselves towards COVID. That may embrace masking in indoor public areas, minimizing indoor gatherings and opening home windows to permit for extra airflow.  

On June 15, the FDA will overview Moderna and Pfizer’s authorization requests for his or her vaccines for youths below 5. Zink stated children are usually nonetheless at a lot decrease danger of extreme signs than older folks.

“While this is super exciting news, I don’t want it to take away from grandma or grandpa getting that booster,” she stated.

The newest rise in instances within the U.S. is pushed by the most recent omicron variant, Zink stated. Like different omicron waves, it seems to be making its strategy to Alaska extra slowly than the northeast.

Third units of free at-home COVID exams at the moment are out there at Zink emphasised that individuals with COVID signs ought to get PCR exams, even when their at-home exams are detrimental. If you’ve been in shut contact with an contaminated individual and don’t have signs, take a look at 5 or extra days after publicity.

The division’s subsequent public well being presentation is scheduled for September.

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