Alaska hospital leader hopeful about virus hospitalizations

·2 min read

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — The leader of Alaska's hospital association cited a recent decline in hospitalizations related to COVID-19 as a possible turning point following a prolonged period in which resources at health care facilities in the state were stretched thin.

“We’re feeling like the situation (in hospitals) is becoming manageable in a way that it hasn’t been in a long time,” Jared Kosin, president and CEO of the Alaska State Hospital and Nursing Home Association, told the Anchorage Daily News.

Fairbanks Memorial Hospital announced Tuesday it was deactivating crisis standards of care in place since early October. Crisis standards of care provide guidelines for administering care in extraordinary circumstances in which there are insufficient resources to provide levels of care that patients would normally get.

A return to the less pressured “contingency” standard of care reflected lower hospitalization rates at the hospital and statewide that improved capacity and made patient transfers easier when needed, Foundation Health Partners, of which the hospital is a part, said in a statement.

Kosin said if the trend in hospitalization numbers hold, the expectation is that crisis standards of care also would be deactivated at other facilities.

In Alaska, the number of patients hospitalized with COVID-19 dropped below 200 earlier this month, according to the state health department, which on Tuesday reported 142 people with COVID-19 were hospitalized.

The highly contagious delta variant drove a surge in cases that started in July. The state health department in September reported more people hospitalized with COVID-19 than were at the peak of the previous surge late last year, and hospitals reported being strained.

The toll of the most recent surge is still being tallied, with the state on Tuesday reporting an additional 28 deaths related to COVID-19 identified through death certificate reviews. Twenty-two of the deaths occurred last month, with five in September and one in August.

The day before, the state reported 53 COVID-19-related deaths, most of which occurred in September.

The Associated Press

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