State health officials say that they have confirmed the first case of the Omicron variant of the novel coronavirus in Alaska. The state remains on high alert, with 422 new COVID-19 cases and one death reported on Monday, Dec. 13, none of them in Cordova.
The individual diagnosed with the Omicron variant had returned from international travel in November. With that case, Alaska joins at least 30 other states and over 60 countries that have already detected the Omicron variant, according to the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services.
DHSS officials said protective measures against the new variant are the same as previous variants: getting vaccinated, masking, handwashing, physical distancing and testing to reduce transmission of the virus. Those who do test positive are urged to ask their doctor to see if they are eligible and could benefit from monoclonal antibody treatment, which enlist the body’s own immune system to fight the virus.
DHSS officials reported 422 newly confirmed cases of COVID-19 on Monday, Dec. 13, along with one additional death and 63 hospitalizations, but also noted that the overall number of new cases was down 25% from a week earlier. The man who died was a Ketchikan resident in his 60s.
Since COVID-19 was first detected in Alaska in early 2020 a total of 148,380 confirmed cases have been diagnosed, 3,149 individuals hospitalized and 857 people have succumbed to the virus.
The new resident cases include:
- Anchorage 131
- Greater Wasilla area 49
- Juneau 23
- Ketchikan 21
- Fairbanks 20
- Nome Census Area 18
- Bethel Census Area 12
- Greater Palmer Area, Kenai 7
- Chugiak, Kodiak 6
- Willow 4
- Copper River Census Area, Dillingham, Nome, North Pole, North Slope Borough, Sterling 3
- Girdwood, Kenai Peninsula Borough-North, Ketchikan Gateway Borough, Nikiski, Petersburg, Sutton-Alpine 2
- Bethel, Matanuska-Susitna Borough, Metlakatla, Seward, Soldotna, Tok and Wrangell 1
The six nonresident cases include two people in the North Slope oil industry, two in Wasilla, and one each in Anchorage and Juneau.
State health officials are now updating status reports on the spread of COVID-19 in Alaska every Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
To date, 62% of Alaskans ages 5 and older have received at least their first dose of vaccine and 56.6% of Alaskans ages 5 and older are now fully vaccinated.
A total of 3,606,719 tests for infection have been conducted in Alaska to date including 30,818 tests within the week preceding Dec. 13, DHSS officials said.