FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Nome, Alaska – On Thursday, Jan. 13, Norton Sound Health Corporation identified 47 COVID-19 cases between six regional communities. 27 were identified in Nome, seven in St. Michael, five in Savoonga, four in Unalakleet, two in Shishmaref, and two in Golovin.
In Nome, four cases were travel-related, 15 were close contacts, and eight were community spread. Seven of these individuals are NSHC employees. In St. Michael, all cases were close contacts to previously identified cases. In Savoonga, two were travel-related and three were close contacts. In Unalakleet, two were travel-related, one was a close contact, and one was community spread. Both Shishmaref cases were travel-related. In Golovin, one case was a close contact and one was community spread. 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 443% increase in the daily average of new cases in the state per 100,000 people. The U.S. as a whole has seen a 133% 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 is quickly becoming the dominant COVID-19 variant in Alaska.
There are currently 150 active cases in the region: 82 in Nome, 18 in Unalakleet, 18 in St. Michael, 13 in Elim, five in Savoonga, five in Shishmaref, five in Golovin, three in Stebbins, and one in Shaktoolik. According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the guidance for positive cases has changed to five days of isolation (based on the start of the infectious period), followed by five days of vigilant masking around others. As a result of this reduced infectious period, cases drop off the active case count quicker. The region is currently seeing a high level of transmission, although the case count may not appear as high as other times.