COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations rise in Homer
Alaska Department of Health and Social Services Public Health Nurse Lorne Carroll says to expect and prepare for the increase of COVID in the community.
Nurse Carroll explains the Delta variant of the virus, which is circulating now, can be more than twice as contagious as the original.
"That original virus, that reproductive factor in the beginning was 2.4 to 2.6.
So that means that every case of the original virus passed that virus on to 2.6,
about two and a half other people.
And so that first version that caused Europe's first wave had a reproductive factor of three.
When thinking about these variants of concern in our country and here in Alaska,
that alpha variant or the B 1, 1 7 has a reproductive factor of four to five.
Now compared to the Delta, here's the take home.
The Delta variant, that's how much it reproduces or spreads in the absence of
mitigation factors, is five to eight. So it is highly contagious," said Nurse Carroll.
As of Thursday afternoon, three patients were hospitalized with COVID at SPH.
South Peninsula Hospital is now restricting visitors at the hospital and long term care in most cases.
The hospital is also administering antibody infusions
to patients not admitted to the hospital if they are at a high risk of hospitalization,
and infusions of the antiviral drug, Remdesivir, to inpatients.
SPH Spokesperson, Derotha Ferraro said hospitalizations, outpatient treatment
and testing are all increasing. Ferraro says the time to take a test,
for people not showing symptoms is about six days after exposure.
"We all totally understand that you might feel anxious,
but the reality is that you will not test positive the day you are exposed.
It tends to be about six days on average that you have enough viral load
that you would have a positive test result," Ferraro said.
It's important to isolate if you think you've been exposed and,
as always, Nurse Carroll said, hand washing, masking and social distancing
are important as the Delta variant ramps up.
"This is the fifth week in a row of week over week increases.
So, 882 cases were reported in Alaskans last week,
and that is a 140% increase from the previous week,"
Nurse Carrol says the recommendation from DHSS is still,
that the best way to protect yourself from hospitalization is to get vaccinated.
Vaccines are available through your health care provider and local pharmacies.
You can get a free COVID-19 test or a vaccine
Seven days a week at the COVID Test and Vaccine Clinic at 4201 Bartlett Street.
Vaccine is available from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Tests are available 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
If you have any questions about free, walk-in vaccines or tests, or
if you want to talk to SPH's 24-hour COVID Nurse, call (907) 235-0235.
For more information go to sphosp.org.