Increasing Sitka COVID-19 outbreaks continued this week, with an additional 62 resident cases reported on Tuesday and Wednesday, bringing state-wide cases to a total of 472 over the same two days.
Also on Monday, a visitor leaving Sitka tested positive for the virus and boarded an Alaska Airlines flight with the other three at 6 am on Tuesday, according to a message from a local health nurse. All four showed symptoms of COVID-19.
According to a message posted on Sentinel, officials at the Centers for Public Health, State Epidemiology, and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention “tried to prevent travelers from boarding aircraft.” The plane went to Juneau, where the group connected to Seattle.
Alaska Airlines was contacted by the CDC on its way to Seattle, an airline spokesman said Wednesday.
“Our management met the flight on landing and informed guests that they were not allowed to proceed to their final destination. Alaska employees, including Sitka and Juneau employees, were contacted by the CDC. Until then, I was unaware that a guest who tested positive for COVID-19 boarded the plane, “Alaska Airlines said in a statement. “Our medical professionals have repeatedly stated that those who have not been in close contact with this passenger remain at low risk of infection.”
The average case rate in the community is just over 8,500, Highest in the country At the county level.
Craig Warren, chief of the Sitka fire department, who is the case commander at the city’s emergency operations center, said he was sending “non-stop” emails from people asking him to do something. But Warren said he had limited authority.
“I’m asking Sitkan to do the right thing,” Warren said Wednesday afternoon. “After 18 months, they know what it is: get vaccinated, wear a mask, stay socially distant, and practice good hygiene.”
According to the municipality, as of Wednesday, Sitka had more than 200 active cases and an average 14-day rolling case rate of more than 15. Dashboard.. According to The New York Times, this outbreak is the worst thing the community has suffered since the pandemic began in March 2020. Case tracker..
Sitka lawmaker Jonathan Kreiss Tomkins said the town’s thinking these days is “reminiscent of last year,” when the pandemic still restricted interactions.
“I think people are organically suppressing their social interactions and all of them,” Kreiss-Tomkins said.
Current Differences: Nearly 70% of sitcans are completely vaccinated, and even if some people refuse to fire and some vaccinated people are also positive, the population is normal. You can resume the activity.
“People’s guards are down and they are back to normal,” he said. “I certainly did.”
Since arriving in Sitka on Wednesday in 2019, the number of cases has increased as the first major cruise ship moored in the Alaskan waters. The Royal Caribbean-run Serenade of the Sea anchored at the dock of a community cruise ship seven miles north of downtown Sitka, where passengers disembarked and visited the town.
The ship carries about 630 passengers, which is about a quarter of the 2,476 passengers it can hold. Gene SloanThe blogger on board explained that his first impression was that he was on an empty ship enough to feel like a private yacht. Passengers are required to wear masks in the interior space of the ship, and some areas such as casinos and pubs are off limits to passengers who have not been vaccinated with COVID-19.
Almost everyone on the Serenade of the Sea, or about 97% of passengers and crew, is vaccinated, Royal Caribbean said. statement Tuesday.
According to state-posted Wednesday data, the newly reported case of Sitka is one of 435 indigenous Alaska infectious diseases reported in the state over the past two days, with new COVID-19-related cases. There is one death. Department of Health and Social Services.. An additional 37 cases were reported among non-residents.
According to the State Health Department, the person who died was a woman in her 70s in the Prince of Wales-Hider Census Area.
State epidemiologist Dr. Luisa Castrodale said in a weekly briefing Wednesday that “more than 200 cases in two days.” “I’m listening to how things are getting red across the state.”
As of Wednesday, many of Alaska had high alert levels and were shown in red on the map.
Hospitalizations continue to increase throughout the state. By Wednesday, state data showed that there were 70 confirmed cases of COVID-19 hospitalized around the state. In the second half of June, the number fluctuated between 10 and 19.
Anchorage hospitals are busy and have sporadic warnings of “bypass” emergency rooms with no available beds. This is a rolling situation that can change rapidly. State officials say it’s been a busy time for the ER, and not only are trauma-related injuries from people recreating it, but some are catching up with medical procedures that have been delayed over the past year.
“It’s not just COVID,” said Heidi Hedberg, director of public health at the state, during a briefing on Wednesday.
In total, 375 Alaskans and 7 non-residents of COVID-19 have died since the pandemic. Reached the state last spring.
Alaska’s per capita mortality rate remains Among the lowest In a country, despite the size of the country, the healthcare system, and other factors complicating country comparisons.
Health officials continue to encourage Alaskans to vaccinate the virus, noting that the vaccine has been shown to be very effective in preventing serious viral illnesses. variant.
About one-third of new cases in Sitka occur among people currently vaccinated, according to local emergency authorities. City officials require people to wear masks, whether or not they are vaccinated. To maintain distance in public places. Stay home when you feel sick.
According to health officials, the recent increase in case numbers may be due in part to the highly contagious delta mutation first identified in India in December and in Alaska in May. The new strain is associated with higher hospitalization rates and is considered the most contagious mutant strain to date.
By Wednesday, approximately 57% of the state’s population over the age of 12 had at least the first vaccination, and 52% of all residents over the age of 12 were considered fully vaccinated.Among all states, Alaska was ranked number. Most of the per capita vaccinated residents are 33 in the country.
Of the 435 resident cases reported on Tuesday and Wednesday, there were 153 in Anchorage. 62 in Sitka; 27 in Juneau; 22 in Homer; 21 in Palmer; 19 in Cordova; 15 Wasilla; 14 locations each in Fairbanks and Soldotna. 11 for Kodiak; 10 for Seward; 6 for Bethel and 6 for Kenai. 5 each for Chugiak, Eagle River, and Ketchikan. Four in Sterling. Three each in Hooper Bay and Unalaska. Two each for anchor points and barrows. There is one each for Douglas, Girdwood, North Pole, Sutton Alpine, and Valdes.
Less than 1,000 communities not identified for confidentiality include 8 in the Bethel Census Area, 6 in the northern Kenai Peninsula, 3 in the southern Kenai Peninsula, Aleutians East Autonomous Region, Bristol Bay plus lakes. And one in each of the peninsula’s autonomous regions. Copper River Census Area and Ksylback Census Area.
There were 37 non-resident cases. 7 cases in Cordoba. 7 people in Sitka. 6 people in Washira. 4 people in Anchorage. Four in the Kenai Peninsula Autonomous Region. Two in Homer. Prince of Wales-One in the Haider Census area. Six in unidentified areas of the state.
Of all coronavirus tests completed in the state last week, 5.35% returned positive.
Note: The Health Department now updates the Coronavirus Dashboard on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, excluding holidays.