Beginning on December 6, DHSS will begin reporting COVID counts three times a week to its COVID dashboard (State of Alaska)

The Alaska Department of Health and Social Services is cutting back its daily coronavirus reporting. 

When the Sitka Unified Command met on Wednesday (12-1-21) the city’s Public and Government Relations Director Melissa Henshaw said that the state will only report new COVID data to its dashboard on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays beginning next week. 

“So they say that the change is being made for sustainability of staff,” Henshaw relayed to the Unified Command. “And also because weekly data is more helpful for understanding trends.”

While Sitka’s case rate has been shifting between high and substantial for the last few weeks, weekly cases have plateaued at a much lower level than when numbers were peaking in July and August. 

The state is scaling back its coronavirus reporting just as a new ‘variant of concern,’ according to the World Health Organization, is on the horizon. Much is still unknown about the omicron variant, and city officials did not discuss it during the public portion of the meeting. The United States reported its first omicron cases this week in California and New York, but so far no cases have been reported in Alaska.