Wrangell currently has no active cases of COVID-19 in the community. As of today, the total case count for the state of Alaska is 15,156 cases. That’s an increase of 2,512 cases from last week. As of today, 413 people have required hospitalization. That includes 38 new hospitalizations over the last week, and as of today, 71 people have died. Three of those deaths have occurred during the last week. For more data, you can visit the COVID data hub.
The SEARHC COVID-19 hotline is available seven days a week from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at 907-966-8799. Community asymptomatic testing continues to be available every Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the SEARHC clinic parking lot. Test results are still currently being received within five days or less. Overall, 13.9% of the local population was tested over the last seven days.
The November 1 (well, October 31 at midnight) application deadline is approaching for the local business and household CARES Act grant funding. Go to www.wrangell.com for the application, and contact City Hall with any questions. The city very much wants to disperse those funds to Wrangellites who need them. Depending on how much funding remains, the deadlines might be extended, but don’t count on that; get your application in before November 1.
HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE STATE STATUS UPDATE:
Virus transmission across Alaska accelerated for the fourth, record week in a row, and hospitalizations for COVID-19 have started to rise. Testing is not keeping up with the new cases. Alaskans should get tested immediately at the first sign of any symptoms. Testing is our best tool for understanding virus transmission and risk in our communities. Most Alaskans get COVID-19 from a friend, family member or co-worker.
Alaskans should avoid indoor gatherings with non-household members, wear masks, and stay six feet from anyone not in their household.
STATE TRENDS AND PREDICTIONS:
For the fourth week in a row, more cases were reported in Alaskans than any previous week, a 56% increase over last week. The statewide positivity rate is at a record high for the fourth week in a row. Increases in testing are not keeping up with increases in cases, and those cases are increasing in both urban and rural communities. An updated model epidemic curve predicts Alaska’s cases will continue to accelerate over the next week and are likely to double again within the next three to four weeks or sooner, and this model does not take into account the last seven days’ record case rates, so the true doubling rate is likely higher.
Dr. Zink recently said the virus is not like an earthquake that happens to us. It is driven by us; the virus cannot replicate outside of the human body. The high case counts are not being driven by a single outbreak or by any one area. They’re happening in areas like break rooms where employees are eating together, at restaurants, bars, and family gatherings.
Please consider that we are not going to be in this situation forever. As we head indoors due to the change of season — the season that includes the months of strong traditions centered around the holidays — that we’re not asking that people change how those holidays look forever. Just for this year. The CDC has provided some guidelines and creative ideas about what that could look like. Now is not the time to let your guard down. It’s the time to consider how we can help carry our community forward safely together over the next few months.