Information On Covid & Flu From The State Of Alaska For Mid-April

  Alaska Department of Health and Social Services Weekly COVID-19 and Influenza Update April 3–April 9, 2022 Key Findings COVID-19 transmiss...

 

COVID and Flu Weekly Report

Alaska Department of Health and Social Services Weekly COVID-19 and Influenza Update

April 3–April 9, 2022

Key Findings

  • COVID-19 transmission remained widespread in most parts of Alaska during the week of April 3–April 9, 2022, with evidence for increasing cases in some areas but decreases elsewhere.  
  • Appreciable levels of influenza transmission began occurring in mid-December but declined through January and February and are now at a low level.
  • Other respiratory viruses are circulating in addition to SARS-CoV-2 and influenza virus.

COVID-19

COVID-19 Case Trends

  • COVID-19 transmission continues to occur widely throughout much of Alaska, with evidence for an upwards trajectory concentrated in some of the more populous parts of the state. Cases and hospitalizations remain far below the peak of the Omicron wave.
  • 1,266 cases were reported in Alaskans the week of April 3–April 9, which is an 11% decrease compared to the previous week.
  • The number of new COVID-19 cases has been increasing modestly in the Municipality of Anchorage. The Matanuska-Susitna Borough and Fairbanks North Star Borough may be experiencing increases as well. Reported cases declined last week compared to the previous week in the City and Borough of Juneau. There is not a clear trajectory in the Kenai Peninsula Borough.
  • The intensity of COVID-19 transmission varies between communities outside the largest boroughs. Trajectories are mixed, with COVID-19 cases declining in some boroughs and census areas but increasing in others. Some communities continue to experience large outbreaks relative to their population size.
  • The Omicron variant accounts for effectively all SARS-CoV-2 circulating in Alaska. The BA.2 lineage (a sub-type of Omicron) has become dominant. Visit Alaska’s SARS-CoV-2 Genomics Dashboard to learn more. 
  • To learn more about COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, and deaths due to COVID-19 in Alaska, visit the Cases Dashboard or the monthly report. The cases dashboard includes demographic information on cases and the monthly report includes demographic information on hospitalizations and deaths.

COVID-19 and Hospital Capacity

  • Some regions continue to experience capacity limitations because of large numbers of patients overall (not necessarily with COVID-19 or other respiratory viruses) relative to the number of available staff. However, overall, the state has returned to a more normal level of referral capacity for higher-level and specialty care. 
  • Patient Care Strategies for Scare Resource Situations are currently not being utilized by any facility in Alaska. However, given the continued limited capacity of some facilities, the Crisis Care Committee continues to meet to monitor the situation and remains available to assist facilities and DHSS should the need arise.
  • As of April 13, 2022, there were 26 persons with COVID-19 in Alaska hospitals, accounting for 2.1% of all hospitalized persons. Visit the Hospital Dashboard for more data.

COVID-19 and Vaccination

  • 71.7% of Alaska residents aged ≥5 years have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. Among those who completed the primary vaccine series, 51.3% of Alaska residents ≥18 years have received their booster. Learn more about COVID-19 vaccination coverage in Alaska on the Vaccine Dashboard. Learn more about COVID-19 vaccines.
  • Vaccines help protect against infection and against severe disease, especially when a person is up to date on vaccinations. During the 4-week period from March 6, 2022–April 2, 2022, unvaccinated Alaskans were 8.8 times more likely to be hospitalized due to COVID-19 than Alaskans who are up to date on COVID-19 vaccination (i.e., completed the primary series and received a booster dose, if eligible) and 4.5 times more likely to be hospitalized due to COVID-19 than Alaskans who completed the primary vaccination series but are not up to date. These estimates are lagged by one week to partially account for the time it takes to document hospitalizations. (See the monthly report for more data and analysis through January.)

Unvaccinated Alaskans are 8.8 times more likely to be hospitalized due to COVID-19 than Alaskans who are up to date on COVID-19 vaccination and 4.5 times more likely to be hospitalized due to COVID-19 than Alaskans who completed the primary vaccination series but are not up to date. In order to more easily identify changes over time, the definition of “up to date” as of January 8, 2022, was applied to data from all time points. The absolute rates of hospitalization especially in the most recent 4-week period highlighted in grey are likely underestimates because of COVID-19 hospitalizations that have not yet been documented. **Especially when rates are very low, the estimates of fold-differences between rates may be imprecise. Fold-differences are not calculated if one of the rates is based on <6 cases.

  • Among Alaska residents aged ≥5 years from January 16, 2021–April 9, 2022, 72,472 cases were documented in persons who had completed the primary series and were considered fully vaccinated. Among those vaccine-breakthrough cases, 539 hospitalizations and 191 deaths due to COVID-19 have been recorded. During that time, 99,800 cases have been documented in unvaccinated Alaskans aged ≥5 years, leading to 1,863 hospitalizations and 665 deaths. All data are preliminary and subject to change.
  • During the Omicron wave, the incidence of COVID-19 cases in vaccinated persons has become more similar to the incidence in unvaccinated persons. This trend likely reflects multiple factors which may include: immunity wanes over time, cases in vaccinated persons may be more likely to be detected than cases in unvaccinated persons, and there may be increased infection-induced immunity especially among unvaccinated persons.

Influenza (“Flu”)

  • Reported influenza cases began increasing in Alaska in mid-December. The number of reported cases the week of April 3–April 9 decreased slightly from the number reported the previous week.
  • Right now, most influenza in Alaska is caused by influenza A.
  • 24% of Alaskans aged ≥10 years have been vaccinated against seasonal influenza. It is not too late to get vaccinated against influenza.
  • Learn more in the weekly Alaska Influenza Snapshot.

Emergency Department Visits with COVID-like or Influenza-like Illness

  • Syndromic surveillance consists of analyzing data on symptoms and diagnoses among patients visiting emergency departments in Alaska. The main goal is to identify trends. Unlike case-based surveillance, syndromic surveillance does not depend on laboratory testing.
  • Influenza-like illness (ILI) is defined as having a fever and at least one other symptom, such cough or sore throat. Patients with a diagnosis of influenza are also included, regardless of symptoms.
  • COVID-like illness (CLI) encompasses a broader array of respiratory and other symptoms than influenza-like illness. This category also includes any patient with a diagnosis of COVID-19, regardless of symptoms.
  • Patients with a diagnosis of COVID-19 are excluded from the ILI category and, likewise, patients with a diagnosis of influenza are excluded from the CLI category. But a patient without a diagnosis for either could be included in both the CLI and ILI categories. CLI and ILI may be caused by respiratory viruses other than SARS-CoV-2 and influenza virus.
  • As the Delta variant wave waned in Alaska in late October and November 2021, the percentage of emergency department patients with CLI declined. However, it increased in mid-December, reaching its peak in mid-January. Now, it is at a level lower than that observed in December before the Omicron wave. The percentage of emergency department patients with CLI the week of April 3–April 9 remained similar to the percentage recorded the prior week.
  • ILI levels increased in December but have since decreased from the late-December peak, remaining steady over the last few weeks.

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