COVID-19 cases in Kodiak continue to accumulate. The Kodiak Emergency Services Organization reported 13 new cases of the virus on Tuesday.
Kodiak High School closed on Tuesday after a “a possible close contact of an individual who has tested positive for COVID19,” according to a notice from the Kodiak Island Borough School District. The notice did not give a date when school would return, but said the KHS community would be notified when a decision is made.
On Monday, the Ouzinkie School closed until Nov. 24 after a positive case in the community. Students will be in remote-learning mode until then.
According to the press release from the ESC about the new positive cases, six of those were tested last week and the other seven were tested this week.
Of the 13 cases, nine are Kodiak residents who traveled recently. Four are close contacts of previous cases.
That brings the archipelago’s total cases since the start of the pandemic to 184, 38 of which are considered active. Two people completed their quarantine periods yesterday and moved off the active list.
The six cases from last week listed on Tuesday’s report were from tests administered at the Kodiak Benny Benson State Airport on Saturday. Those tests don’t get processed by labs until Monday, Public Health Nurse Bonny Weed said, hence the lag in reporting time.
Like many rural areas in the U.S., Kodiak is in the midst of its most sustained outbreak since the start of the pandemic. Forty new cases have been reported since last Tuesday. The ESC has reported new cases every day since Oct. 22. When positive case reporting slows, the number of active cases in Kodiak no longer drops to zero, like it did in the spring and summer months.
“We have the big spikes when we find clusters of cases, but the unfortunate trend is that when it drops down again, it’s higher than it was before,” Weed said.
“Things don’t reset as low as they had in the past, which shows ongoing transmission in the community.”
With Thanksgiving and Christmas on the horizon, officials are worried. Both involve two of the most problematic activities from a virus-containment perspective: travel and indoor gatherings.
“I would be really careful with one’s circle. I’m not going to say don’t have the holidays. But we’ve seen that just a few short hours with someone who has COVID, it really spreads easily in a household setting,” Weed said.
The Alaska Department of Health and Social Services identified 637 new people with the virus on Tuesday. One new death was also reported, bringing the total number of deaths in the state since the start of the pandemic to 100.
Of the new cases, 631 were Alaska residents: 433 in Anchorage, 52 in Eagle River, 20 in Wasilla, 20 in Fairbanks, 16 in Soldotna, 15 in Kenai, 10 in Chugiak, eight in Bethel, five in Juneau, five in Palmer, four in Dillingham, three in Homer, three in Kodiak, three in North Pole, two each in Girdwood, Sterling, Nome, Utqiagvik and Sitka, and one each in Nikiski, Seward, Healy, Sutton-Alpine, Kotzebue.