Local health officials reported twelve new coronavirus cases on Wednesday and Thursday (8-19-21).

According to the city’s COVID dashboard, 11 of the cases are Sitka residents. 75% of the cases are under 50. Two of the cases are children 19 or younger. One case is listed as “secondary” meaning the person had known contact with another COVID positive person. Contact tracing is still in progress for the rest of the cases.

Earlier this week, the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services reported Sitka’s third COVID-related death, but the city’s dashboard is still reporting only two deaths.

When the Unified Command met on Wednesday (8-18-21), EMS Captain Rob Janik said it takes some time for local health officials to independently corroborate each case, which may explain why the city’s and the state’s reporting differ.

“We want to report these cases and these deaths as accurately as we can as soon as we can. But unfortunately, the process to go through to get it officially declared as COVID death and then to be able to report it accurately, takes a lot of time,” he said. “And there are different silos that don’t necessarily communicate effectively with each other. So I want to assure the public that as soon as we have actionable information, we’ll post that information to the dashboard.”

According to the state, Sitka’s third COVID casualty was a woman in her 40s. Since the pandemic began last year, Sitka has reported 1007 coronavirus cases, and 40 hospitalizations. 

Sitka’s vaccination rate increased slightly this week. Just over 79 percent of eligible residents have received at least one vaccine shot.