MAT-SU — The Mat-Su Borough has reported over 220 positive cases of COVID-19 over the last two days as the state continues to deal with hospital capacity shortages. The current case rate in the Valley of 1,570.3 is more than 15 times higher than the rate needed to reach the “high” alert level according to the Department of Health and Social Services dashboard. A high alert level is reached when an area reaches 100 cases per 100,000 residents within seven days.
In the Mat-Su, there are 37 people hospitalized with COVID-19 and no Intensive Care Unit beds available at Mat-Su Regional Medical Center. There are 13 people who require ventilators at MSRMC and 38.9 % of the entire population of hospitalized persons are hospitalized with COVID-19.
There were 163 new cases in the Mat-Su reported on Wednesday with 112 from the five zip codes attributed to Wasilla and 41 cases in Palmer. That followed 60 new Mat-Su cases on Tuesday with 37 from Wasilla and 17 from Palmer. The current test positivity is at eight percent and there have been 82 Valley residents who have died from COVID-19.
Statewide, 976 cases were reported on Wednesday and 691 were reported on Tuesday as Alaska continues to have the highest case rate in the United States at 1,167.23. There are currently 207 people hospitalized with COVID-19 and 39 require ventilators. Just 22 ICU beds are available across Alaska and 21.3 % of the entirety of the hospitalized population is hospitalized with COVID-19. There have been 546 Alaskans who have died from COVID.
The state reached the 60 % threshold of residents over 12 years of age who have been fully vaccinated, and another 19,010 have received one dose and are awaiting their second. In the Mat-Su, 41.6 % of residents are fully vaccinated and another 3,810 are awaiting their second dose.
MAT-SU BOROUGH SCHOOL DISTRICT
There are now two schools that have closed to in-person instruction due to COVID-19 spread, but 30 of the 47 MSBSD schools are at a low alert level and do not require masks for students. Knik Elementary is the latest school to close with one case reported on Wednesday, six in the last week and 35 positive cases total since the start of school. Students and parents who attend Knik will receive an update on the school status on October 4. Fronteras Spanish Immersion Charter School remains closed and will receive an update on October 1. Fronteras reported no new cases on Wednesday, but has had 15 positive cases over the last week and 34 total since school began.
There are 15 schools accounting for 31.9 % of MSBSD schools that are currently at a medium risk level and require masks for students and teachers. American Charter Academy, Big Lake Elementary, Burchell High School, Colony Middle School, Dena’ina Elementary, Goose Bay Elementary, Iditarod Elementary, Machetanz Elementary, Meadow Lakes Elementary, Sherrod Elementary, Snowshoe Elementary, Tanaina Elementary, Trapper Creek Elementary, Valley Pathways and Wasilla Middle School all require masks for students at school and on buses.
There were 22 new cases of COVID-19 reported among students and teachers on Wednesday with 148 over the last week and 1,437 total this school year. Machetanz reported three on Wednesday, which was the highest across the district. Fronteras’ total of 15 over the last week is the highest across the district and Colony High School has had 12 over the last week but remains in the low alert level with no masks. Meadow Lakes, Career-Tech High School and Colony Middle School are all tied for the third highest total number of cases over the last week with each reporting nine cases. The MSBSD school board will meet next on October 6.