COVID infections climbing, less than 50% of Alaskans fully vaccinated

Medical assistant Florelyn Adajar injects Rolando Gasmen with a dose of Moderna’s coronavirus vaccine at Ilanka Community Health Center. (Feb. 6, 2021) Photo by Zachary Snowdon Smith/The Cordova Times

Thousands of people in Alaska continue to test positive for COVID-19 variants each week, and the death toll climbs, while the overall percentage of fully vaccinated people remains below 60% of the eligible population over the age of 5.

The latest data available from the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services prior to publication notes that from Friday, Jan. 28 through Monday, Jan. 31 the state confirmed 4,447 more people testing position, with 187 people hospitalized, and the statewide pandemic alert level remaining on high. The DHSS report showed three more cases in Cordova, plus three in the Copper River Census area.

Health care workers, led by Dr. Anne Zink, the state’s chief medical officer, have repeatedly reminded Alaskans that the best way to guard against getting the virus is vaccination, plus masking handwashing, physical distancing and testing in the event an individual feels they have been exposed to the virus or have COVID symptoms.

Since the pandemic virus first was confirmed to have spread to Alaska in March 2020 a total of 209,564 residents have tested positive, along with 7,375 nonresidents. A total of 3,450 individuals have been hospitalized and 1,052 residents have succumbed to the virus.

The latest infection data as of Tuesday, Feb. 1 includes 4,347 resident and 100 nonresident cases whose test results were recorded by the state, but does not give a full picture as a number of individuals are now relying on home test results, which they are not reporting to DHSS.

DHSS records show that 58.4% of Alaskans ages 5 and older are now fully vaccinated and 64% of Alaskans ages 5 and older have received at least their first dose of vaccine.


The Juneau region continues to have the highest rate of vaccination per capita, at78.7%, followed by the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta region, at 74.8% vaccinated. The two areas with the lowest percentage of vaccinated people are the Kenai Peninsula region, at 48.5% and the Matanuska-Susitna region, 41.2%.

Of the 4,347 residents who tested positive most recently, 1,550 were in Anchorage, 381 were in the Greater Wasilla area, 276 were in Fairbanks, 225 in Eagle River, 220 in the Greater Palmer area, 16 in the Nome census area, 161 in Juneau, and 114 in North Pole. Newly infected numbers in all other areas of the state were under 100 people.

The highest number of newly infected nonresident cases were 10 individuals in the seafood industry in Dillingham.