Denali vaccine clinic

The Covid-19 virus transmission keeps slowing down in Fairbanks and statewide, with Alaska going into intermediate — or orange — statewide alert status, according to state health experts.

“That’s a big milestone,” State Epidemiologist Joe McLaughlin said during Thursday’s news conference. “We’re very excited to see these case counts continue to decrease.”

The alert status is based on the average daily case rate over two weeks, with the intermediate level meaning that between 4.8 and 10 cases are transmitted per 100,000 people.

 

The state of the virus

Yesterday alone, the state reported 78 cases, 15 of them in Fairbanks North Star Borough. Delta Junction reported three cases on Thursday, while Denali Borough reported three positive Covid cases during the past week.

Overall, the case counts are trending down: Last week’s report showed decreasing statewide transmission, with all but two regions doing better than the week before. Exceptions were Northern and Southern Southeast Regions that saw an increase in cases.

The national, statewide and local drop in transmission can be attributed to the increasing number of vaccinated people, as well as the virus developing a seasonal nature, McLaughlin said.

“We know that when people are spending more time together outdoors than time together indoors, we tend to see a lot less transmission of respiratory pathogens,” McLaughlin said. “That means that in the fall, once people start panicking and going back indoors, will we start to see an uptick in cases? I would say that, you know, that’s certainly something we’ll be looking at.”

No Covid-related deaths were reported on Thursday, but Wednesday’s report brought one recent death, and another four were reported by the state on Tuesday, including a woman in her 50s from Southeast Fairbanks Census Area.

 

Hospitalizations

The three-day average for Covid-related hospitalizations in the Interior has stayed around four this week. While more than half of ICU beds are available, most of the regular hospital beds — 52 out of 56 — are occupied.

“We are encouraged to see less Covid compared to what we saw a few weeks ago, but we still have a lot of other things that we are taking care of in the hospital as well,” said Dr. Michelle Nace, a pediatrician at Tanana Valley Clinic and Fairbanks Memorial Hospital, during a Tuesday meeting.

 

The state of vaccinations

In Fairbanks North Star Borough, more than 44.5% of adults have received at least one vaccine dose. Statewide, the number is above 53%.

“Our best benchmark is that we’re still getting people vaccinated.”

“We’ve seen about a 1% increase in the number of people with one dose, and about 1% increase in fully vaccinated people in the last week,” said Public Health Specialist Sarah Aho.“We’re continuing to see people get vaccinated and that’s, I think, the best indicator that it’s going well and we’re still making progress.”

The Interior will host several vaccine clinics this weekend.

--— J.P. Jones Center: Friday, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

— Chena Health: Friday, 12 p.m. to 4 p.m.Regal 

— Cinema Theater: Friday, 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.

— Ester Park: Saturday, 2 p.m. to 6 p.m.

— TVC Clinic: Saturday, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

You can learn more at http://hss.state.ak.us/appts.html, covidvax.alaska.gov and by calling 907-646-3322.

Contact staff writer Alena Naiden at 459-7587. Follow her at twitter.com/FDNMlocal.

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