New 7-day COVID case rate record broken in Juneau, more self testing kits expected this week

    (Photo Credit: CBJ.)

    Juneau, Alaska (KINY) - Juneau is experiencing a rise in COVID cases with the community averaging about 38 new cases a day over the long weekend, setting a new 7-day case rate record over the course of the pandemic.

    That data is according to the CBJ emergency operations center, Deputy manager Robert Barr said their objective with raising the risk level to modified level 3 high is the same as it has been, slowing the spread.

    "We are seeing our highest rate that we've seen in the entire course of the pandemic right now. We know that the variant that's undoubtedly here is much more transmissible, all of those trends track with what we see throughout the country, and in fact, everywhere in the world. That is struggling with the Omicron variant," he said. "Based on the type of spread that we're seeing, and based on what we know about how much more transmissible Omicron is and has been shown to be in other parts of the world, there's really very little question and what we're seeing is Omicron, we just haven't had that sequencing done yet."

    The State public health lab does case sequencing to analyze cases for variants, and takes about two to three weeks. Though omicron is not confirmed to be in Juneau, Barr says he is expecting to get early indications of it at any time.

    Meanwhile, locations in Juneau offering free COVID-19 self-tests, as well as the Juneau Public Health Center, are either extremely low on supply or currently out of stock.

    Barr is expecting another shipment this week, which will resupply distribution sites. He asked that residents do not horde the self-testing kits.

    "We don't have enough for every household to have a dozen of these, as an example, but we have been getting enough for households to pick up two or three, when needed and have those on hand."

    The State of Alaska’s COVID-19 testing program at the Juneau International Airport is in place until January 31. Barr is hopeful that by that time, the supply chain for self-testing kits will be improved, and to a point where travelers could be provided self-testing kits upon arrival to Juneau.

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