Uptick in COVID cases across Alaska could mean increase in Interior

Published: Jul. 16, 2021 at 4:57 PM AKDT
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FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) - With an uptick in COVID-19 cases across the State of Alaska, Fairbanks could see a potential rise in cases.

According to Katie Garrity, Health Program Associate with Fairbanks Public Health, the increase in cases could create further infections as the summer comes to an end. “We are currently having an uptick in cases, and it’s different in different parts of the state. For Fairbanks, we don’t have enough people vaccinated which means that anyone who’s not vaccinated could get COVID - and that could lead to it spreading community wide. It’s summer right now, and we’re heading towards the school season in the fall. Right now we can be outdoors a bunch, but as we move towards indoors that just means that if the cases go up now, that’s more spread that happens in the near future and into the fall.”

Fairbanks itself has seen a few cases in the last week as unvaccinated patients with COVID-19 infections were admitted to hospitals in town. Garrity continued, “We’ve had a nice period of time where we’ve had very low case rates, and that means also means our hospital rates have been very very low - no hospitalizations for the last number of weeks - and then just recently we’ve had an uptick in hospitalizations, and those hospitalizations are primarily in people who are unvaccinated.”

According to Garrity there are concerns regarding lower-than-preferred vaccination rates of children 12 and up as the school year approaches. “There is a big concern... we do not have as high a rate as we’d like to see in children 12 and up being vaccinated. Soon they’ll be back in school where they’ll be interacting with many other kids. They’ll be going back home where maybe they have younger siblings who are not able to get vaccinated at this time, and that’s how it spreads in our community.”

Garrity said the recommendations for precautions to keep you and those around you safe remain the same. “To stay safe and to keep others safe of course, there’s getting vaccinated. If you are not vaccinated, please wear a mask when you’re in an indoor setting with groups of people, [and] stay physically distanced. This is a recommendation to keep you safe, to keep the people around you safe. Make sure you’re washing your hands, and anytime there is a concern about any place you are, you can put a mask on if you’re not sure about the situation.”

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