With the announcement of four new cases of COVID-19 in the Kodiak Island Borough on Friday, the archipelago’s case count crossed into triple digits.
Kodiak has now reported 102 total cases since the beginning of the pandemic. Six are considered active, according to the Kodiak COVID Dashboard, and 96 are considered recovered or off-island.
Of the four new cases, three have been labeled as travel related and the other is community spread.
Kodiak has experienced two spikes in cases since the start of the pandemic. One was at the OBI seafood processing center in Alitak in early August, which was ultimately responsible for 37 cases of the virus.
The other, much smaller, outbreak was among 14 Coast Guard service members and close contacts, which led to temporary closure of both Peterson Elementary and North Star Elementary schools.
Otherwise, the virus has caused a trickle of cases over the previous months, many related to travel. But cases are rising across Alaska and concern is high about the virus’ spread to Kodiak. By last Thursday, Alaska had reported more than 200 new cases of COVID-19 a day for eight straight days.
“This is an alarming number for Alaska,” Emergency Services Director Mike Tvenge said at last Thursday’s briefing about the virus.
He noted that of the 44 hospitalizations statewide at the time, eight of those people were on ventilators. Rural areas are also seeing their most sustained outbreaks yet. On Wednesday, Kusilvak reported 59 virus cases and Bethel reported 37.
Kodiak has not yet seen a single day reporting that many cases.
“Keep doing what we’re doing, because for the most part it’s working,” Tvenge said on Thursday.
Alaska reported its single-day high of COVID-19 cases on Sunday, with 526 new cases being reported in the state’s daily case update. This followed a record-breaking 355 cases reported on Saturday. Of new cases reported Sunday, 520 were among Alaska residents and six were among nonresidents.
Statewide, the total number of resident cases now stands at 13,012, and the total number of nonresident cases has risen to 1,052.
Dr. Anne Zink, the state’s chief medical officer, tweeted Sunday morning about the sharp rise in cases, writing that “Alaska, we need your help, [we] are on a fast acceleration.”
The Alaska Department of Health and Social Services released a statement on Sunday attributing the increase to widespread community transmission, increased testing in many communities and efforts by the Division of Public Health to enter backlogged case data.
“We’re doing all we can, with the full support of our governor, to respond vigorously to this increase in cases,” DHSS Commissioner Adam Crum said in the statement.
“While DHSS provides support to Alaska’s communities, we’re also asking all Alaskans to step up their COVID prevention efforts to help flatten the curve again. While the vast majority of today’s cases are younger than age 60, the saturation of the virus in the community increases the likelihood that our vulnerable populations such as older Alaskans or others at risk of severe illness will be infected, and these are the groups we are especially trying to protect. This won’t last forever, but right now we are asking all Alaskans to come together and slow this community spread and protect the most vulnerable among us.”