Mat-Su Regional Medical Center is one of the few hospitals in Alaska that has yet to enact the “crisis standards of care” provision enacted by Alaska Department of Health and Social Services Commissioner Adam Crum last month, but are still working to care for a high volume of COVID-19 patients. There were 842 new cases of COVID-19 announced among Alaska residents on Thursday with 152 of those from the Mat-Su Borough.

“The number of patients our hospital is caring for remains high. We are sustaining care for all patients who come to us for their medical needs. We encourage the public not to delay seeking care in a medical emergency. Currently, we are caring for 41 patients with COVID-19; 85 percent are not vaccinated. We are also caring for many patients with other medical conditions,” wrote MSRMC Director of Marketing and Public Relations Alan Craft. “While the State of Alaska made available the “crisis standards of care” provision, Mat-Su Regional Medical Center has not enacted that provision. To ease capacity and staffing challenges due to the continuing high volume of patients, the hospital is temporarily reducing the number of elective procedures it schedules that require an overnight hospital stay.”

There have been 916 cases among Valley residents over the last week, and the Mat-Su Borough’s seven-day case rate is at 853.6 while the state case rate is at 788.17. According to the DHSS dashboard, 10 patients at MSRMC require ventilators and 35.1 % of the entire population of hospitalized persons is hospitalized with COVID-19. Of the 152 cases announced from the Valley on Thursday, 105 were from the five zip codes attributed to Wasilla, 31 from Palmer, six from “other”, five from Big Lake, four from Willow, and one from Sutton.

There have been a total of 569 Alaskans who have died from COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic and the current test positivity is at 9.5 %. There are just 24 Intensive Care Unit beds available statewide, while none are currently available at MSRMC. There are 180 people hospitalized statewide with 31 on ventilators. Statewide, 58.5 % of Alaska residents have been fully vaccinated with another 31,441 awaiting their second dose of vaccine. In the Mat-Su, 41.4 % of residents are fully vaccinated and another 4,476 are awaiting their second dose, while 53.5 % of all Valley residents have yet to receive a single dose of vaccination.

In his statement, Craft applauded the work of MSRMC staff in battling the pandemic on the front lines.

“Mat-Su Regional continues to follow CDC guidelines, including the masking of all providers and individuals in a healthcare setting. We have strongly encouraged employees to be vaccinated but have not made vaccination mandatory. For hospital and clinic staff who are not vaccinated, we have implemented routine COVID-19 testing as an additional safety precaution last month,” wrote Craft. “We continue to support and celebrate the terrific work our team has done throughout the pandemic, and especially the past three months of this current surge. Through funding from a state program, our hospital has added 28 additional contract healthcare workers — a combination of nurses, nursing assistants and respiratory therapists — to support our clinical staff during this surge.”

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