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Covid cases surge again in Kodiak

The COVID-19 situation in Kodiak has taken a turn for the worse.

According to the Emergency Operations Center’s weekly COVID update, 227 new cases were reported for the Kodiak Island Borough in the last week. 256 cases are considered active, and include one hospitalization.

Mike Tvenge is the director of the Emergency Services Council. He says that while this event doesn’t merit reintroducing the mask mandate, it does lend to greater vigilance.

“I can just say to the public that, you know, if this doesn’t send a shot across the bow, I don’t know what will- we need to be careful. We need to keep our distance and wear a mask whenever we’re around people. This Omicron virus is very contagious, as we’ve heard multiple times… and just to protect one’s family, and the workforce in our communities is critical at this point,” Tvenge said.

The spike comes as Kodiak High School students transitioned to remote learning today through the end of the week. School officials cited local case numbers as the cause. This week’s Public meetings for both Borough and the City were canceled. A joint work session between the Borough and City Council scheduled for tonight was also cancelled, and the Kodiak Board of Education pushed its meeting back a week.

Providence Kodiak Island Medical center also moved to orange status on Wednesday, indicating a higher level of visitor restrictions. Karl Hertz, chief executive of Providence Kodiak Island Medical Center, says that staffing at the hospital is a big factor in the level change.

“So you might have to wait a little extra for an outpatient X-ray or lab or different things like that, depending on the staffing at the current moment in time,” Hertz said.

According to Hertz, there are things the public can do to prevent the worst outcome at the hospital.

“We just want folks to know that we are seeing the surge on the island. Please be mindful when you’re out and about the public. Please get vaccinated, wash your hands, social distancing, mask, and, and maybe consider limiting your visits to loved ones in the hospital until we get through this latest surge,” Hertz said.

The high local case numbers come amidst spiking coronavirus cases around the country. largely driven by the omicron variant. Local health officials don’t test for specific variants in Kodiak, although the omicron variant was detected in Alaska before the holidays.