Alaska on Friday reported no deaths and 453 new COVID-19 cases over the previous two days as the number of people hospitalized with active cases rose slightly.
By Friday, there were 79 people hospitalized statewide with active infections, up slightly from 76 patients Wednesday. Around 8% of all hospital patients in the state were COVID-positive.
Those numbers don’t include some people recovering from the disease who need continued care. They represent a significant decrease from the high of more than 200 people hospitalized on average in September and October.
The state’s test positivity rate, which reflects the number of positive tests out of the total performed, was 4.2% as of Friday. Anything above 5% can indicate high transmission and not enough testing, epidemiologists say.
By Friday, Alaska ranked 35th among states for its seven-day COVID-19 case rate, with 176.1 cases per 100,000 people, according to the CDC. New cases declined about 24% since last week.
Alaska health officials continue to monitor for the new omicron variant of the coronavirus that’s raising questions and concerns around the world because of its many mutations, state health officials say. Omicron has been detected in numerous states but not yet in Alaska.
About 62% of Alaskans 5 and older have received one dose of the shot while 56% are considered fully vaccinated. Alaska currently ranks in the bottom third of the nation — at 33rd — for its vaccination rate.
State health officials continue to encourage Alaskans who want to protect themselves against the omicron variant to get vaccinated or get booster shots and practice the same measures — masking, social distancing, good hygiene — known to help prevent the spread of existing variants.
In total, 856 COVID-19 deaths among residents and 30 among nonresidents in Alaska have been reported since the pandemic arrived in the state in spring 2020.