In Kodiak, 193 cases of COVID-19 were reported to the state over the last month – 46 of those cases were from just the last week. That’s not a surge, but it does fit a statewide rise in cases of the virus – Alaska’s Department of Health reported a 10% increase in COVID cases since last week.
Amy Butts is a public health nurse and team lead at the Kodiak Public Health Center. She says what’s happening in Kodiak – and statewide – is happening across the country, too.
Back in April, state health officials said half of COVID-19 cases in Alaska were the BA.2 strain of the virus, although another subvariant, BA.5 has more recently been identified as the dominant strain of the virus in the U.S.
Butts said the numbers don’t necessarily factor in positive at-home tests either.
“I’ve heard of quite a few cases that were positive through an at-home test that didn’t see their healthcare provider,” said Butts. “Now, what’s also important to note is that when people are testing positive, the recommendation is to talk to their healthcare provider.”
Kodiak’s community transmission level was bumped up to “high” by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention earlier this month. That’s prompted some popular tourist attractions that are run by federal agencies – like the Kodiak National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center and NOAA’s Touch Tank – to require mask wearing again.
Butts says that’s the CDC’s advice for crowded places regardless of vaccination status.
“And along with masking, one of the big methods to prevent COVID is of course, the vaccines,” she said.
There’s also more boosters available than when they were originally rolled out last year, according to Butts. She says the Kodiak Public Health Center also has vaccines available for children as young as 6 months old.
Anyone who feels sick should get tested as soon as possible. COVID-testing is available by appointment through the Kodiak Area Native Association and the Kodiak Island Ambulatory Care Clinic. At-home test kits are also available at Safeway on Mill Bay Road.
Editor’s Note: This post has been updated.