Moderna vaccine

The Moderna Covid-19 vaccine is seen. Courtesy Lanien M. Livingston/FNSB

Gov. Mike Dunleavy is urging Alaskans to practice common safety measures as Covid-19 hospitalizations rise across the state.

“ ... it is a common summer occurrence that our hospitals teeter on the edge of full capacity. When you add seasonal workers, a health care staffing shortage, and a highly contagious disease such as Covid-19 into the mix, it elevates the need to take extra precautionary measures to lighten the load on our hospitals,” Dunleavy said in a news release Tuesday.

The governor equated Covid health measures to everyday precautions people take, like driving safely, wearing a life jacket when on the water or being prepared for the elements, "... as well as choosing to take advantage of the free Covid-19 vaccine, which I have done” he said.

Hospitals are near capacity as Covid-19 cases and outdoor accidents have increased during the summer months. The Department of Health and Human Services reported 562 new Covid-19 cases in Alaska from July 23-25.

“We are following the trend of the national average with a really significant increase in the number of cases overall,” State Medical Officer Dr. Anne Zink said during last week’s Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS) news conference.

There are 96 individuals hospitalized with Covid-19 in Alaska, a 30.5% increase since Thursday. Four of those are at Fairbanks Memorial Hospital, according to a hospital representative.

The current statewide alert level, based on the average daily case rate over 14 days per 100,000, is high with widespread community transition at 22.8 cases per 100,000, according to DHSS. The Fairbanks North Star Borough alert level is intermediate with moderate community transmission at 6.70 cases per 100,000. 

Across the state, about 57% of residents have received at least their first vaccine dose and 52% are fully vaccinated.

On Tuesday, a steady stream of local residents stood in line to get vaccination shots at the Kids Literacy Farmers Market at Weeks Field, adjacent to Noel Wien Library. An estimated 500 people attended the event, which promoted literacy.

The event offered vaccinations for both school and Covid-19. Midway through the three-hour event, Covid-19 vaccinations were out numbering the school vaccinations, and health care workers had to run back to the office to replenish their vaccine supply.  

State health officials are urging unvaccinated Alaskans to get the shot as the delta variant cases increase.

“98% of all of our deaths are in unvaccinated individuals and 96% of our hospitalizations are in unvaccinated individuals, again not everyone, but by far the vast majority are in unvaccinated individuals,” Zink said. 

Contact reporter Liv Clifford at 459-7582. Follow her at twitter.com/FDNMcrime.