A note from Health and Social Services Commissioner Adam Crum corrects misinformation that is floating around Alaska.
He says that hospitals and the State of Alaska do not get extra money for Covid patients or for logging a death as a Covid death. Death certificates are signed by the attending physician, and the State has nothing to do with the cause of death and is not getting federal money based on a death.
But he also acknowledges that the state has been playing catch-up with the posting of actual case counts, and it has made it look like there is a terrible outbreak of Covid.
“We were posting high numbers, but they weren’t reflective of current situation, in order to be date transparent I pushed the team to work through the backlog, that showed many days of high cases, but as we’ve said for 18 months, report date doesn’t mean a thing and is a useless data point. Onset date is what matters,” Crum said in his note, leaked to Must Read Alaska by a health worker. “And that shows that our epi curve is flattening … that’s useful information.
“These numbers are even lower than numbers that were posted even 2 weeks ago,” he said. “And 44 people didn’t die from COVID in one day. No one ever claimed that. Not even the media,” Crum wrote.
Those seeking to politicize Covid-19 have been pushing the narrative in the mainstream media that Alaska is suffering from the worst outbreak in the nation. According to Crum, that’s just not born by the data. National news outlets and local news outlets have reported the soaring numbers in recent days as evidence that Alaska is in crisis.
The difficulty for local leaders is that it’s not clear what the actual current case numbers are, and they are making policy decisions that impact people dramatically based on that flawed information.
According to the State’s data dashboard, the hospitalizations for Covid-19 were slightly down in September, compared to August in Alaska.
In August, 336 people were hospitalized in Alaska with Covid-19. In September, that number eased off to 325, (possibly because September has one fewer day than August.) As of Oct. 4, just five people are reported to be newly hospitalized in Alaska with Covid-19. [This is not intended to be read as five people are all that are hospitalized for Covid in Alaska].