Juneau just had its highest new COVID-19 case rate ever

The Juneau Assembly will consider reenacting its emergency measures to combat COVID-19 at a special meeting this evening.

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Akiak to become first in Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta with high-speed broadband internet

The Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta is the second largest region in the United States without access to broadband internet, but not for much longer.

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Treating infertility in Alaska

A baby swaddled in a blanket
(Creative Commons photo by Dru Kelly)

Approximately one in eight couples are affected by infertility in the United States, and this number is increasing each year. A reproductive endocrinology physician provides advanced infertility procedures. In Alaska, however, patients must travel out of state for this treatment. Fortunately, we do have infertility services to bridge this gap and provide much needed evaluation and treatment options within the state.

HOST: Dr. Jillian Woodruff

GUESTS:

  • Rhianne Christopherson, APRN, Full Moon Fertility and Reproduction, LLC

LINKS:

PARTICIPATE:

  • Call 550-8433 (Anchorage) or 1-888-353-5752 (statewide) during the live broadcast (10–11 a.m.).
  • Send an email to lineone@alaskapublic.org before, during or after the live broadcast (e-mails may be read on air).

LIVE BROADCAST: Wednesday, July 28, 2021, at 10 a.m. AKDT
REPEAT BROADCAST: Wednesday, July 28, 2021, at 8 p.m. AKDT

LINE ONE’S FAVORITE HEALTH AND SCIENCE LINKS:

SUBSCRIBE: Get Line One: Your Health Connection updates automatically by:

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First Lady visits Anchorage. Her message: Get vaccinated

Two women talk, both wearing face masks, near medical equipment.
Valerie Nurr’araaluk Davidson, president of the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium, speaks with First Lady Jill Biden on Wednesday. (Hannah Lies / Alaska Public Media)

First Lady Jill Biden was in Alaska for a few hours Wednesday. She came with a message.

“I’m asking all of you, who are listening right now, to choose to get vaccinated,” she said. “COVID is more contagious than ever, and it continues to spread. Even one hospitalization, one life lost is too many.”

This was a refueling stopover for Biden. She’s en route to Tokyo to lead the U.S. delegation to the Olympic Games. But Biden said she asked to do a little more while she was on the ground in Anchorage.

A woman in blue blazer speaks into a microphone, with women in face masks on either side of her.
First Lady Jill Biden speaks at the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium in Anchorage. To the left is Alaska Chief Medical Officer Dr. Anne Zink and to the right is ANTHC President Valerie Nurr’araaluk Davidson. (Hannah Lies/Alaska Public Media)

On Wednesday afternoon, Biden visited the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium, the state’s largest tribal health organization.

There, ANTHC President Valerie Nurr’araaluk Davidson and the state’s chief medical officer, Dr. Anne Zink, gave her an overview of the Alaska Native health care system and demonstrated how telehealthcare works for rural Alaska.

Two women wearing face masks talk inside, near big windows.
First Lady Jill Biden talks with Alaska Chief Medical Officer Dr. Anne Zink. (Hannah Lies / Alaska Public Media)
A woman waves at another woman who appears on a screen.
First Lady Jill Biden waves at Dr. Cate Buley, the medical director of Primary Care Clinics at the Southeast Alaska Regional Health Consortium. (Hannah Lies / Alaska Public Media)
Four people stand in a line, looking at a woman in a white coat who appears on a screen near them.
First Lady Jill Biden is briefed on telemedicine services. From left to right: Alaska Chief Medical Officer Dr. Anne Zink, President of the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium Valerie Nurr’araaluk Davidson, First Lady Jill Biden and Cardiologist Dr. Joseph Park. (Liz Ruskin / Alaska Public Media)

This was an opportunity to brief someone who has the constant ear of the most powerful man in the world, and Davidson took it. She explained how tribal organizations took over from the Indian Health Service to run the Alaska Native Medical Center. She also explained ANTHC’s work to build water and sewer systems in rural Alaska. And she told of the success they’ve had in fighting COVID-19.

“In some of our communities we have 100 percent vaccination,” Davidson said.

Biden also met with military families at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson.

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A woman in a blazer looks out of a window.
First Lady Jill Biden at the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium. (Hannah Lies/Alaska Public Media)

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The Pacific Northwest heat dome just skirted Southeast. What will Alaska’s own extreme heat waves look like?

This summer has been one of the colder summers the region has had in the last few years. But when compared with summers over the last several decades, it’s still among the hottest.

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Rain should clear Siberian wildfire haze hanging over Alaska

Rain should clear out the remaining smoke from massive wildfires in Siberia that blanketed much of Southcentral Alaska in haze for the last several days.

Rain falls in a puddle in front of some woods
Rain falls on July 19, 2021. Smoke particles in helps water in the atmosphere form rain drops, which can sometimes cause heavier precipitation. (Lex Treinen/Alaska Public Media)

Wildfires have burned over 30,000 square miles in Siberia this year, about the size of the state of Maine. The burning taiga is sending a massive plume up into the atmosphere and then over to Alaska, where it first covered Northwest Alaska before moving down to Southcentral.

The remaining smoke in Southcentral expected to clear with precipitation, according to Carson Jones, a meteorologist for the National Weather Service in Anchorage.

“When it rains, the moisture actually needs particles to accumulate on so the rain will actually use the smoke particles as cloud condensation nuclei,” said Jones, “So nice little particles for the rain to form on which will effectively get rid of the smoke.”

Jones said just like in 2020, smoke gets conveyed across the Pacific along the jet stream. While some of the smoke has mixed into the lower atmosphere, the majority of it stays much higher and doesn’t affect air quality too severely. Instead, it adds an orange tinge to the sunlight as smoke particles reflect sunlight. 

Southcentral Alaska recorded several daily record high temperatures over the weekend, including in Palmer, where temperatures hit 83 degrees.

This story has been updated.

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A small percentage of Alaska’s COVID-19 cases have involved fully vaccinated people. Here’s what we know so far.

While half of the state’s population is vaccinated, they make up around 1% of COVID-19 hospitalizations; unvaccinated individuals make up 99% of hospitalizations.

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