The number of local active COVID-19 cases has shot up to 32, according to an update from the Kodiak Emergency Operations Center.

The EOC update said information came from the Kodiak Public Health Office, which reported that five of the cases are travel related. Two are nonresident cases, which the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services reported were linked to the seafood industry.

The spike in COVID-19 cases started last week, and by Friday there were at least 15 cases. The EOC was unable to report the types of transmission because public health officials were still conducting contact-tracing measures.“The EOC and Emergency Services Council are continuously monitoring the community risk level, taking into consideration local case counts, modes of transmission, emergency response, impacts to health care and other factors,” the EOC said in its update. “Everyone can play a role in controlling the virus spread.”The local spike reflects a wider increase in COVID-19 cases across both Alaska and the nation. DHSS reported 435 new resident cases and 37 nonresident cases over two days, according to a Wednesday update.

DHSS noted that the delta variant of the virus that causes COVID-19 may be substantially contributing to the increase in cases. The variant spreads much more rapidly than the original strain.

Joe McLaughlin, a state epidemiologist, said during a panel on Wednesday hosted by University of Anchorage that the best way to bring the virus under control is to get vaccinated. Currently, 51.9% of all Alaskans 12 years and older have been fully vaccinated, and 56.9% have received at least one dose. Kodiak Island’s rates mirror the state vaccination levels: 52% of all ages were fully vaccinated, while 56% had received at least one dose, according to the state’s vaccine monitoring dashboard.McLaughlin also encouraged people to get tested if they were in close contact with someone who tested positive.

“Currently available COVID-19 vaccines will help protect you, your family, and your community against COVID-19,” DHSS said in a Thursday update.”And until you are fully vaccinated, avoid crowded places and wear a mask whenever indoors with people you don’t live with.”

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