FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Nome, Alaska – On Monday, Jan. 17, Norton Sound Health Corporation identified 68 COVID-19 cases between seven regional communities. Of the new cases, 24 were in Nome, 15 were in Unalakleet, 14 were in Shishmaref, five were in Elim, four were in St. Michael, four were in Golovin, and two were in Shaktoolik. Leadership has been notified in each community.
As the active case count continues to grow in the region, the rest of Alaska is also seeing a steep incline in new cases. In the last 14 days, there has been a 241% increase in the daily average of new cases in the state per 100,000 people. The U.S. as a whole has seen a 62% increase in the last 14 days. The Alaska Dept. of Health and Social Services says the sharp uptick in cases is due to the Omicron variant’s rapid spread across the state. Laboratory evidence shows Omicron has quickly become the dominant COVID-19 variant in Alaska.
The most important thing regional residents can do to protect themselves against the Omicron variant is to get vaccinated and get a booster to help improve immune response. People over age 65 are especially at high risk and should be sure to stay up-to-date on COVID-19 vaccines. The Moderna and Pfizer boosters are especially effective in preventing serious illness and death. The CDC recommends getting a booster at least five months after the last dose of Pfizer, six months after the last dose of Moderna, or two months after getting a Johnson and Johnson vaccine.
If someone is identified as a close contact and is not fully vaccinated and boosted if eligible, they should quarantine for five days. After a negative test result on day five, they should continue to wear a mask in public for five additional days. Those who are fully vaccinated and have received a booster (if due) do not need to quarantine but are encouraged to wear a mask in public places and test on day five.
If diagnosed with COVID-19, patients should isolate for a minimum of five days and wear a mask for an additional five days.
There are currently 142 active cases in the region: 82 in Nome, 15 in Unalakleet, 15 in Shishmaref, 12 in Elim, six in Golovin, five in St. Michael, four in Savoonga, two in Shaktoolik, and one in Stebbins.