Seasonal influenza is off to a slow start this season in Alaska, according to the State Department of Health and Social Services.
Whether it’s because of masks, vaccinations, or simply the public staying home more, the flu has barely made an appearance in the 49th state this fall. That’s a good thing for keeping hospitalization days lower and allowing more capacity for other illnesses, including COVID-19.
Flu is the 10th leading cause of death in Alaska, with 61 people dying of it last year. This year, 12,118 Alaskans have acquired COVID-19, and 68 of them have died with the disease, although there were often other contributing factors.
There are currently 59 people in the hospital in Alaska with COVID-19, with seven on ventilators.
The main uptick in influenza this month has been in Northwest Alaska with four cases this week, according to the State data.
Toward the end of winter of 2020, the flu cases dropped off dramatically across Alaska as people stopped person-to-person interacting with others as a way to ward off the coronavirus.