KETCHIKAN (KDN) — The Alaska Department of Health and Social Services reported the COVID-19 related deaths of two Ketchikan residents on Monday, while Ketchikan Public Health officials logged 27 new COVID-19 cases between Saturday and Monday.
The deceased residents were a man in his 50s and a woman in her 70s, according to a case summary published by DHSS on Monday evening. The statement did not note when the individuals died, but did state that the deaths were part of 53 virus fatalities that occurred between August and November and were reported by DHSS on Monday.
To date, 12 Ketchikan residents have died of COVID-19.
According to the KPH-maintained COVID-19 information dashboard, 64 local cases were active as of Monday.
Ketchikan's seven-day average of newly identified cases per 100,000 people was 438.69.
PeaceHealth Ketchikan Medical Center's COVID-19 hospitalization dashboard showed that one individual was hospitalized at the facility due to the virus.
Upcoming local vaccination clinics
COVID-19 and flu vaccine clinics are planned for Saturday and Dec. 4, according to a flyer sent to the Daily News by Ketchikan Public Health.
Both clinics are scheduled for 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Houghtaling Elementary School.
Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines will be available for ages 12 and older. Pediatric doses of the Pfizer vaccine also will be available for those aged 5 to 11 years old, according to the information.
Pfizer boosters for eligible individuals, as well as third doses for immunocompromised individuals, will be available.
Flu vaccines will be available for individuals over the age of six months old, according to the information.
Metlakatla's total number of COVID-19 cases tipped to more than 100 on Monday, as the Annette Island Service Unit reported 12 positive virus test results and the community moved back to Alert Level 3 effective midnight Monday.
"Bear with us as we work with the Annette Island Service Unit on updating mandates based on new science and a status of ongoing community mitigation readiness," read a Monday evening statement from the Metlakatla Indian Community.
According to the MIC notice, 26 cases were active in Metlakatla at that time. Three cases were reclassified as recovered on Monday, and one was case reclassified as recovered on Saturday.
"Remember to wear your masks in public, wash your hands, and social distance," the notice read. "Please monitor yourself for symptoms of COVID-19."
To date, 108 cases have been tallied in Metlakatla.
Prince of Wales Island update
Health officials on Prince of Wales Island did not report any new COVID-19 cases between Friday and Monday afternoons, according to a 3:15 p.m. recording on the Craig Public Health COVID-19 hotline.
Since the start of the pandemic, 437 cases have been counted on the island, and two were active as of Monday.
Due to an ongoing spike in COVID-19 cases in Petersburg, the Petersburg Borough Assembly passed a "borough-wide face covering mandate for all public indoor spaces," according to a statement on the borough's website.
"This mandate is necessary to help prevent the continued spread of COVID in our community," according to the statement. "The Borough, School and Hospital highly encourage all Petersburg businesses, churches and other organizations to require masks in your buildings and at your gatherings. We also recommend getting vaccinated, and following social distancing and hygiene recommendations."
As of Monday afternoon, 69 cases were active in Petersburg, according to the community's online virus dashboard.
The local seven-day test positivity rate was 18.3%, and 94 tests were pending results.
Universal masking was in place at all three Petersburg schools as of Monday. According to a Petersburg School District COVID-19 information dashboard, Stedman Elementary School had 13 active cases, Mitkof Middle School had six and Petersburg High School had nine. Cases involve school staff and students.
Additionally, 19 individuals connected to Stedman Elementary were quarantining, and three connected to both Mitkof Middle School and Petersburg High School also were in quarantine, according to the dashboard.
The dashboard noted that antigen testing was optional at all three schools.
Statewide case information
DHSS on Monday reported 53 COVID-19 related deaths (50 involving Alaskans and three involving nonresidents), some related to a backlog of deaths that were identified through the review of death certificates.
"These deaths occurred from August through November, with the most fatalies in September," according to DHSS' Monday case summary. "DHSS diligently examines death certificate reviews to identify COVID-related deaths."
The 50 nonresident deaths were counted in the communities of Anchorage (24); Fairbanks (six); Wasilla (four); Palmer (three); Ketchikan, the Northwest Arctic Borough and the Yukon-Koyukuk Census Area (two per area); and North Pole, the North Slope Borough, Big Lake, Unalaska, Valdez, Kenai, and Sutton-Alpine (one per area).
Of the deceased Alaskans, 32 were men and 18 were women, according to the statement.
Eleven of the deceased were aged 80 or older, 10 were in their 60s, 12 were in their 50s, three were in their 40s, four were in their 30s, and one was in her 20s.
The three nonresident deaths involved a man in his 50s in Palmer, a man in his 40s in Anchorage and a man aged 80 or older in Palmer, according to DHSS.
Two of the 50 deceased Alaskans died outside of the state.
"Our thoughts are with their family and loved ones," the statement read.
Since the start of the pandemic, 764 Alaskans and 30 nonresidents have died.
A total of 1,387 cases also were reported by the department between Friday and Sunday, according to the statement. Of those cases, all but 17 involved Alaskans.
Areas with 10 or more new cases counted during the weekend included Anchorage (425); the Greater Wasilla Area (147); Fairbanks (104); the Nome Census Area (66); Greater Palmer Area (60); Eagle River (59); Kotzebue (33); Soldotna (31); Nome and the Bethel Census Area (25 apiece); Ketchikan, Chugiak and North Pole (24 each); Juneau and the Northwest Arctic Borough (23 each); Kenai (22); Homer (21); Kodiak (19); Petersburg (18); Metlakatla (14); and Bethel (11).
Other Southeast communities with new resident cases tallied by DHSS were Yakutat plus Hoonah-Angoon (four), Haines (three), the Prince of Wales-Hyder Census Area (two), and Craig and Sitka (one each), according to the DHSS information.
The nonresident cases were charted in Anchorage (five); Fairbanks (four); Ketchikan (two); and Wasilla, Palmer and Prudhoe Bay (one each). Three cases were still under investigation by DHSS.
DHSS reported on Monday that 54% of Alaskans over the age of 5 have been fully vaccinated, although some individuals are not included in that count.
"Vaccination metrics are a count of Alaskan residents," according to the DHSS vaccination dashboard, which was updated with more in-depth information this past weekend. "Percent vaccinated does not include military, veterans or non-residents in the numerator, and Alaska population counts includes military personnel in the denominator. Therefore percent vaccinated may be underestimated."
The dashboard also clarified that "doses given" does not refer to individuals, but to each dose — whether first, second, third or a booster — administered total.
During the week of Nov. 1 through Sunday, 1,840 doses were administered.
DHSS data showed that 17,591 doses have been administered in Ketchikan, with 66% of individuals in Ketchikan — including veterans, military or nonresidents in the community— having at least one dose and 62% of individuals being fully vaccinated.
In the Prince of Wales-Hyder Census Area — which includes Metlakatla, Kake, Port Alexander and Hyder, as well as all communities on POW — 65% of people have at least one vaccine dose. A total 60% of people in the census area are fully vaccinated, according to DHSS.
Sleeves up for School
DHSS' vaccine dashboard provides information regarding the vaccination rates of Alaskans between the ages of 12 and 18, known as the "Sleeves up for School" program.
The information showed that in the City and Borough of Sitka, 91.1% of residents in that age bracket have at least one dose, followed by 88.8% of residents in that group in the Yukon-Koyukuk Census Area and 87% in the Aleutians East Borough.
The dashboard showed that 57% of Ketchikan residents between 12 and 18 years old had at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.
The vaccination rates of other Southeast community residents between 12 and 18 years old, according to the DHSS information, were:
• Skagway Municipality: 82.6%.
• City and Borough of Juneau: 81.8%.
• Yakutat plus Hoonah-Angoon: 71.5%.
• "Other Southeast North:" 70.3%.
• Prince of Wales-Hyder Census Area: 59.2%.
• "Other Southeast South:" 57.7%.
• Haines Borough: 57.1%.
• Petersburg Borough: 42.1%.
• Wrangell Borough: 41.2%.
Hospital status information
As of midnight Sunday, 139 individuals were hospitalized statewide with confirmed COVID-19 cases. Another four were hospitalized and under investigation for the virus, according to DHSS. Of those individuals combined, 18 were on ventilators.
The virus accounted for about 12.5% of all statewide hospitalizations on Sunday.
Providence Alaska Medical Center's adult-level intensive care unit was near capacity on Sunday, according to a status dashboard managed by DHSS.
Bartlett Regional Hospital, Central Peninsula Hospital, Joint Base Elmendorf Richardson hospital and Fairbanks Memorial Hospital all reported ICUs in the open status.
Alaska Native Medical Center and Alaska Regional Hospital provided Sunday evening updates to the DHSS dashboard, listing both ICUs as open. Also as of Sunday evening, Mat-Su Regional Medical Center's ICU was closed.
— Compiled by Daily News Staff Writer Raegan Miller