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The BA.5 variant of COVID-19 is causing an uptick of cases in Alaska and around the country. Providence Kodiak Island Medical Center is still seeing cases of the virus, but patients are often less sick than in times past.
Amy Corder is the incident management commander for COVID response at Providence Kodiak Island Medical Center; she says that Providence once had hard testing data to track COVID cases, but at-home tests have made those numbers less useful.
“What we look at is prevalence rates. So per 100,000 people, how many people do we think have it based on a multitude of factors that the epidemiologists work up,” Corder said.
Corder says the epidemiological data shows that the virus is spreading quickly in Kodiak, and the hospital is seeing evidence of that spread. Corder says that the hospital regularly gets “incidental” COVID patients – patients who come in with unrelated issues and test positive after being admitted to the hospital.
“We get a handful of cases through the ER every week that are able to be treated at home. And then we do have cases occurring, amongst our caregivers and workforce as well,” Corder said.
Corder wants the public to take seriously any signs or symptoms of COVID-19. Anyone who’s uncertain if they’re infected should isolate at home and get tested as soon as possible.
“I know we’re two plus years into this pandemic. And while we are seeing less impact, it is still a time to be mindful. And if you’re feeling anything at all, or just question it, that you take it seriously and really be cautious, so that we can keep each other healthy,” Corder said.
The hospital is giving all admitted patients a COVID test. All patients receiving outpatient care are asked screening questions and given a temperature check.