Fairbanks included on list of 10 counties with highest COVID numbers nationwide per capita

Published: Apr. 30, 2021 at 4:28 PM AKDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) - The Fairbanks North Star Borough (FNSB) is experiencing a spike in COVID-19 infection rates and has been ranked by the New York Times as one of the 10 counties with the highest COVID numbers nationwide per capita in the United States.

According to Dr. Angelique Ramirez, Chief Medical Officer for Foundation Health Partners, FNSB is experiencing a spike nearly as high as in November of 2020 and it could be caused by a few factors. Ramirez explained, “I think it’s a combination, possibly of the new variant with increased transmissibility, a lot because there is a sense of freedom with the vaccine. Many people who were adhering to CDC guidance and now are vaccinated are now no longer expected to adhere to CDC guidance - and even though our vaccination rate is relatively low, that is still a significant number of people who have a newfound freedom. Then we do have a group of individuals who choose to live in Alaska and Fairbanks because they want to follow their own beliefs, which has always been expected.”

Experts have said it before, and Dr Ramirez says the answer is the same now: without masks and vaccines, the virus will continue to spread.

“I think what we have known all along from the science is that if we have a significant amount of the virus in a community, and it’s not vaccinated, and people are not universally masked, it will spread - and that is what we are seeing now,” remarked Ramirez.

And with summer approaching, there are ways for people to enjoy their lives while being safe at the same time.

“In terms of doing differently, we are still recommending, unless you’re vaccinated, we are recommending universal masking. It is the number one thing. And then doing as many activities as possible outdoors - we know a lot now that outdoor transmission is really rare unless you’re in a large crowd or tightly packed crowd. But otherwise, doing activities outdoors is the best thing possible,” commented Ramirez.

Copyright 2021 KTVF. All rights reserved.