COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)

Alaska alert level is now at 7.99 cases per 100,000 people

Chief Medical Officer Dr. Anne Zink, others visit for meet-and-greet on Thursday.

Alaska Chief Medical Officer Dr. Anne Zink and Alaska Commissioner of Health and Social Services Adam Crum visit Homer today for a community meet-and-greet from 10:45 a.m. to noon outdoors at the Homer Public Health Office, 195 East Bunnell Avenue. Other officials attending are Homer Mayor Ken Castner, members of the Homer Emergency Operations Command, South Peninsula Hospital staff and representatives of social service, public health, university and religious organizations.

Dr. Zink and Commissioner Crum are visiting Kenai, Soldotna and Homer in support of community vaccination events and the Sleeves Up for Summer campaign.

This event is offered in collaboration with the Homer Public Health Center, Alaska Department of Health and Social Services, City of Homer and South Peninsula Hospital.

Last week, the alert status for Alaska dropped into the intermediate level. On Tuesday, the average daily case rate for the past 14 days was 7.99 cases per 100,000 people. The Kenai Peninsula Borough is among six census areas in the intermediate risk division, which is categorized by having between 4.8 and 10 positive COVID cases per 100,000 people. The borough reported 6.3 cases per 100,000 over the past 14 days. The Northwest region is the lowest risk of all 11 census regions, with only 2.9 cases per 100,000 people. The other Southeast region has the highest number of cases at 56.01 cases per 100,000.

On Tuesday, the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services reported 38 new resident cases of COVID-19, for a total of 67,252 resident cases and 2,800 nonresident cases. Two were in Kenai and one case was in Anchor Point. The new case count includes 12 new cases in Anchorage, seven in Fairbanks, three in the southeast Fairbanks census area, three in Wasilla, two in Juneau, two in North Pole, and one each in the Bethel census area, Ketchikan, the Kusilvak census area, Palmer, Salcha and Unalaska.

DHSS also announced on Tuesday two new new hospitalizations, bringing the total to 1,555 since the pandemic began. As of Tuesday, there were 15 total COVID-related hospitalizations in Alaska and one patient under observation for COVID-19, with two of the patients on ventilators.

The southern peninsula remains in the medium alert level, according to the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District dashboard. There have been 17 reported resident positive cases of COVID-19 in the past 14 days, with seven in Anchor Point, and 10 in Homer.

The central peninsula also remains in the medium alert level, with 26 cases per 100,000, while the eastern peninsula jumped is in the high alert level, with nine cases per 100,000.

Of tests done at South Peninsula Hospital between May 1 and May 25, there were 1,103 tests, of which 1,021 were negative, 28 were positive and 54 are pending. For the Kenai Peninsula, there have been 4,357 total confirmed COVID-19 cases, with 744 in the South Peninsula Hospital service area, of which 94 were in Anchor Point, 19 in Fritz Creek, 507 in Homer, and 124 in the other southern peninsula census areas.

Free COVID-19 tests are offered 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. seven days a week at the lower level of the South Peninsula Hospital Specialty Clinic, at 4201 Bartlett Street, Homer. Please use the Danview Avenue access. Please call and pre-register before coming if and when possible.

Testing is also available through the SVT Health & Wellness clinics in Homer, Seldovia and Anchor Point. Call ahead at 907-226-2228.

In Ninilchik, NTC Community Clinic is providing testing on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. The testing is only for those traveling, symptomatic, needing testing for medical procedures or with a known exposure after seven days. Only 20 tests will be offered per day. To make an appointment to be tested at the NTC Community Clinic, call 907-567-3970.

On the central peninsula, testing is available at Capstone Family Clinic, K-Beach Medical, Soldotna Professional Pharmacy, Central Peninsula Urgent Care, Peninsula Community Health Services, Urgent Care of Soldotna, the Kenai Public Health Center and Odyssey Family Practice. Call Kenai Public Health at 907-335-3400 for information on testing criteria for each location.

In Seward, testing is available at Providence Seward, Seward Community Health Center, Glacier Family Medicine and North Star Health Clinic.

Reach Michael Armstrong at marmstrong@homernews.com.

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