As COVID cases fall statewide, hospital feels relief

COVID cases have been plummeting in Alaska since mid-January

COVID-19 hospitalizations are still down at Central Peninsula Hospital in Soldotna, as new cases continue to drop nationwide and throughout Alaska.

Bruce Richards, the external affairs director at CPH, said Tuesday the downward trend is helping with hospital capacity.

“We still have some COVID patients in the hospital, but it’s a manageable amount,” he said.

Fewer employees are out with COVID or as close contacts as well, he said.

“We have 30 people out on quarantine,” Richards said Tuesday. “And we’re continually coming down on that front as well. So yeah, things are improving.”

According to state data, COVID cases have been plummeting in Alaska since mid-January. From the week of Feb. 14 to the week of Feb. 21, cases fell by 29%.

COVID hospitalizations in the Gulf Coast region, which includes the Kenai Peninsula, dropped dramatically from late October 2021 to mid-January of this year. Hospitalizations have increased slightly since then, but still remain relatively low.

On Feb. 27, there were 10 COVID hospitalizations in the Gulf Coast. Richards said no COVID patients at CPH were intubated as of Tuesday.

“Things are going fine; we don’t have anybody on ventilators,” he said. “Everything’s downward trending, which is good.”

Although CPH isn’t being hit by an influx of COVID patients, the hospital is still busy, Richards said.

“This morning (we’re) over capacity, we just have a lot of people here,” he said. “But it’s not related to COVID. We do have some COVID patients, but we’re not full because of COVID.”

CPH has 49 regularly licensed beds, but had 52 inpatients as of Tuesday morning. That put them at 106% capacity.

Richards said some patients were scheduled to be discharged Tuesday.

“We’ll get back down,” he said. “This is kind of where we’ve been bouncing around — you know, we’re just below, just above, just below full capacity.”

The hospital staff is feeling a little relief with falling cases again, Richards said.

“Everything’s been COVID, COVID, COVID for so long, you know,” he said. “We do have some patients, but it certainly is starting to trail off and we’re thankful for that.”

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