The number of active COVID-19 cases in Kodiak has shot up to 25, according to an update from the Kodiak Emergency Operations Center on Tuesday.

“Details regarding test dates and means of transmission are not currently available,” the release said. “Additional case information will be provided as soon as it becomes available.”

EOC spokesperson Meagan Christiansen said Kodiak is still waiting for contact-tracing information to be disseminated from both the state and local public health offices.

Christiansen said local public health efforts are currently short-staffed.

According to updated data from the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services COVID-19 cases dashboard, Kodiak reported seven cases on Monday and four cases on Tuesday. 

Between July 14 and July 1, Kodiak reported 15 cases. The cases reported Monday and Tuesday bumped the total up to 25.

All but two were identified as resident cases, according to DHSS. The two non-resident cases were related to the seafood industry. 

COVID-19 cases in Alaska as a whole have spiked in recent weeks, State Epidemiologist Joe McLaughlin said during a public webinar panel on Wednesday.

“The state of Alaska as a whole popped into the red, unfortunately,” McLaughlin said.

Alaska reported 1,209 new cases over a seven-day period ending Tuesday, 77 of them non-residents.

McLaughlin also noted that the statewide level of people getting tested has fallen.

“This is not the direction we want to go, so we are encouraging people to go get tested,” he said. “If you’re a vaccinated person who has a close contact who has been infected, you can get tested if you want.”

McLaughlin added that the delta variant of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, is now the predominant strain in Alaska.

“Over 85% of the most recent test batch came from the delta variant,” McLaughlin said.

The delta variant, which first appeared in India in December, is 50% more infectious than the alpha variant, which was already 50% more transmissible than the original virus strain.

McLaughlin said the best protection against the virus remains being vaccinated. 

“We’re hopeful now that as our case count is increasing that people who have been hesitant will now come forward and get vaccinated,” he said.

A few of the recent cases include those who were vaccinated, according to McLaughlin. However, most hospitalizations and 98% of deaths from COVID-19-related causes have been among unvaccinated people.

Both the Kodiak EOC and DHSS recommend additional precautions as necessary, including social distancing and wearing a mask when in public for unvaccinated people. Those who test positive for COVID-19 should quarantine themselves for at least a week; a second test is recommended to confirm a negative test.

People who plan to travel should “plan for a few days off at home and test before returning to normal activities in case you have carried the virus with you.”

Since the beginning of the pandemic in early 2020, the current total case count associated with the Kodiak Island Borough is 1,164, with 49 local hospitalizations and five deaths associated with COVID-19, according to the Kodiak EOC.

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