Alaska was once leading in vaccination rates but now has found itself once again in a pit as the Delta variant surged coronavirus cases overwhelming hospitals with patients.
The everyday average of new COVID-19 cases has crossed 100,000 as of Thursday. According to data trends gathered by the New York Times, this is more than in any other country. In the last two weeks, the rate has increased up to 46% and around twentyfold more since July.
Alaska Is Once Again In Crisis As Cases Surge Critically
The state officials said on Wednesday that they have generated crisis standards of care providing legal protections to hospitals to ration health care for patients. The state also granted a contract of $87 million to bring back several hundreds of temporary frontline health workers.
Republican governor Mike Dunleavy said that as hospitals are overwhelmed, he did not see an urgent requirement to impose restrictions for curbing the virus’s spread. Still, he urged unvaccinated people to seriously consider getting vaccinated.
He said that the state has a lot of available tools for people to take care of themselves. The state had the highest vaccination rate in the year’s beginning, but it has decreased in recent months.
The Alaska State Hospital and Nursing Home Associations head, Jared Kosin, in an interview, called the situation crippling. He said that hospitals were overcrowded, and health officials were emotionally depleted. Outside the overburdened emergency rooms, patients in queues waiting for their turn is a common scene.
Mr. Kosin said that the community is dependent on shifting seriously sick patients in hospitals is facing growing anxiety. It is getting extremely hard to arrange transfers and they are often delayed.
He said that They are always wondering where this will lead to and whether the next-day transfer will be available.
University of Alaska and Anchorage’s public health associate professor, Dr. Philippe Amstislavski, said that in many native regions of rural Alaska, critically sick patients have to be transferred to hospitals by plane.
He was formally the Interior Region of Alaska’s public health manager Who focused on native communities of Alaska. He said that in these regions they do not have access to fast transfers because of remoteness and distances.
He said that if the number of patients required to be admitted in hospitals rises any further, clinics and hospitals around the country would be forced to impose crisis standards of care and more extreme decisions. This probably is the worst-case scenario the country is heading to, added.
He said that natives of Alaska have been suffering for decades from health disparities and are struggling disproportionately since the pandemic.
The chief medical officer of Alaska, Dr. Anne Zink, said that several factors including tourists going on trips during the summer are contributing to the pandemic surge.
In an interview, she said that they are hoping that fewer people will visit as the snow falls and the numbers slow down. She also noted that as the weather cools further it will drive residents indoors and the viruses would spread more easily.
Dr. Amstislavski said that British Columbia and Yukon, who are our neighbors, have not suffered these many extreme outbreaks. This is because they have stricter restrictions on travel and a less burdened healthcare system.
As the virus spreads further, preying upon hundreds of thousand people, Biden’s plan of administering booster shots to protect them has failed. However, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advisory committee has recommended a booster dose for older adults and vulnerable people. This would not include the general population. The advisers spent 48 hours debating over who should be getting booster doses.
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