CASE COUNT: Wrangell currently has 1 active case of COVID19 in the community. As of today, the total case count for the state of Alaska is 59,917cases. That’s an increase of 887 cases from last week. As of today, 1,310 people have required hospitalization. That includes 25 new hospitalizations over the last week. As of today, 305 Alaskans have died. Two of those deaths occurred during the last week. According to the State’s Alert Levels, the Northern SE Region (which includes Wrangell) has the 2nd highest case rate in the state (31.5 cases per 100,000); just a bit higher than last week. You can visit the data hub at data.coronavirus.alaska.gov. For local case information & resources, you can visit wrangellcovid19.org.
VARIANTS: There are 2 know cases of the B1.1.7 (UK) variant in Alaska. Those were detected in Anchorage. There have also been 5 cases of the P.1 (Brazil) variant detected in Eagle River & Anchorage. These are variants of concern. The investigation is still ongoing to determine whether the cases are linked. To put this in perspective, there are only 20 cases of the P.1 variant in the US right now and Alaska has 5 of them. The State labs are currently capable of sequencing approximately 300 specimens a week to detect the variants. The State healthcare team says our biggest way to combat the variants is to get vaccinated, delay travel, or if traveling, get tested prior to and after travel.
LOCAL ORDINANCES: Wrangell has 3 local ordinances in place:
EMERGENCY ORDINANCE 987 requires wearing a face covering in certain indoor settings, and strongly urging other mitigation actions such as avoiding or limiting gatherings, using pick up services at restaurants, and reducing capacity for personal services.
EMERGENCY ORDINANCE 988 requires that all international and interstate travelers test prior to arrival or upon arrival, and strict social distance until test results are received. Alaska residents may elect to not be tested, provided that they quarantine for 14 days after arrival. It is recommended that travelers obtain a second test 5-14 days after arrival. Persons who have tested positive for COVID-19 within 90 days prior to travel, do not need to test for COVID if they provide proof of a previously positive result of a molecular-based test for SARS CoV2 within 90 days of departure, and they have been released from isolation, and they are currently asymptomatic.
EMERGENCY ORDINANCE 989 requires all intrastate travelers coming into Wrangell via any mode of transportation (by air or sea) from within Alaska to follow the same testing, social distancing or quarantine protocol that I just described for Interstate travelers.
It is a Federal requirement that all travelers must wear a face covering at all transportation hubs and on all public transportation.
Any questions regarding travel can be submitted to email@example.com or by calling 874-COVI (874-2684).
CDC GUIDANCE UPDATES: The CDC has released new public health recommendations for fully vaccinated people. This guidance will be updated and expanded based on the proportion of the populations that is fully vaccinated and the rapidly evolving science on the COVID-19 vaccines. The recommendations apply to private settings. The new guidance does not include any changes regarding public settings or travel. The CDC is still recommending that we delay domestic and international travel and if we choose to travel that we follow CDC requirements and recommendations.
VACCINE: All residents aged 16 years and older that are interested in receiving the COVID-19 vaccine are encouraged to register at covid19.searhc.org. Please provide a valid email when you register, and you will receive an email notification to schedule your appointment. New clinics will be added as more vaccine supplies arrive. If you have any questions or cannot register electronically, please call the Wrangell Medical Center at 874-7000 or call the SEARHC COVID Hotline at 907.966.8799.
As of today, 939 Wrangell residents have been vaccinated; more than 83% of those individuals have completed the 2-dose series. That means that 50% of the eligible population (persons age 16 & older) have been vaccinated. Way to go, Wrangell. Since it is unknown whether vaccinated individuals might still be able to pass the virus on to others, it is still important for everyone to follow the recommended mitigation measures such as: wearing a mask, staying home when you are sick, delaying unnecessary travel, taking care of your health, keeping your social circle small, and washing your hands.
SEARHC is expecting to receive the Johnson & Johnson (Janssen) vaccine this spring. This is a single dose viral vector vaccine. They have not confirmed any dates as of this time.
TESTING: If you have symptoms, it is important to seek testing as soon as possible. Both asymptomatic and symptomatic testing can be arranged by calling the Wrangell Medical Center M-F at 874-7000. If you have been vaccinated, but are experiencing symptoms, it’s still important to get tested. Asymptomatic testing is available twice a day at the Wrangell airport during jet arrival and departure.
Until next week, stay diligent, stay safe, stay well.
KSTK Update 031021