The South Peninsula Hospital COVID-19 Test and Vaccine Clinic now offers free COVID-19 bivalent booster shots by appointment. Appointments are available through Saturday and Tuesday through Saturday next week.
These mRNA boosters contain vaccines against the original strain of the virus that causes COVID-19, and the newest Omicron BA.5 variant, SPH Public Information Officer Derotha Ferraro wrote in an email. Anyone over 12 years of age is eligible for the new booster, so long as they have completed the primary vaccine series and it has been more than two months since their last dose of any COVID vaccine (primary series or booster).
Appointments can be made online at www.sphosp.org. Those needing assistance can call 907-235-0235.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has raised the alert level for the Kenai Peninsula Borough to medium or yellow. The case rate level per 100,000 for the borough also rose, from 96.7 cases per 100,000 last week to 130.7 for this week, putting the borough in the high risk level.
At the medium alert level, CDC recommends people stay up to date with COVID-19 vaccines and get tested if they have symptoms. People may choose to wear face masks at any time, and people with symptoms, a positive test or exposure to someone with COVID-19 should wear a mask. People who are at high risk for severe illness should talk to their health care providers about whether they need to wear a mask or take oter precautions.
The CDC website at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/science/community-levels.html#anchor_82254 shows the risk levels by county using metrics like numbers of people hospitalized and staffing levels.
In its Sept. 7 data summary, the Alaska Department of Health reported 902 Alaskans and 489 nonresidents tested positive for COVID-19 for the period of Aug. 31-Sept. 6. That brings the total to 280,767 residents and 21,861 nonresidents who have tested positive for COVID-19.
No new Alaskans were reported to have died of COVID-19. The Alaska death total remains at 1,304.
On the Southern Kenai Peninsula, the positivity rate for COVID-19 tests done through South Peninsula Hospital stayed at 7% for the period of Sept. 7-13. The number of total tests done at SPH was 221 for the previous week, with 16 positive, according to Ferraro. No new patients with COVID-19 were admitted.
Testing is recommended for individuals experiencing COVID-19-like symptoms, for those with known exposure to an individual who tested positive for COVID-19, for travel requirements, with a provider referral and in advance of medical appointments. In addition to the PCR testing offered at the hospital’s walk-up clinic, free home-test kits are available at the hospital’s main entrance 24/7, at the Homer Chamber of Commerce and for purchase at numerous local retailers.
The Alaska Department of Health encourages Alaskans to get vaccinated and to get booster shots, noting that it is the single most important action that can be taken to protect yourself and your community.
Southern Kenai Peninsula numbers, Sept. 7-13:
Alert level: Substantial, 130 (State of Alaska for Kenai Peninsula, Aug. 31-Sept.6 period)
New total tests: 221 (tested through South Peninsula Hospital)
New positive tests: 16
Test positivity rate: 7%
New COVID-related Emergency Room visits: 4
New COVID hospitalizations: 0
New peninsula deaths: 0
Cumulative deaths: 28 residents (13 in Homer, 10 in Anchor Point, five in Kenai Peninsula South)
State numbers, reported Sept. 7
State Alert level: High, 165.73 per 100,000
New cases: 02 residents and 489 nonresidents
Kenai Peninsula resident cases (Aug. 31-Sept. 6): Anchor Point, 1; Fritz Creek, 0; Homer, 15; Kenai, 10; Kenai Peninsula South, 2; Kenai Peninsula North, 0; Nikiski, 4; Seward, 6; Soldotna, 13; Sterling, 7.
Kenai Peninsula nonresident cases (Aug. 31-Sept. 6): Homer, 1 (purpose under investigation); Kenai, 7 (tourism); Seward, 7 (3, tourism; 4, purpose under investigation); Soldotna, 1 (purpose under investigation)
Cumulative cases: 280,767 residents and 21,861 nonresidents
Current hospitalizations: 62 confirmed positive
Patients on ventilators: 2
Hospitalization rate: 4.8%
State cumulative deaths: 1,304 residents, 33 nonresidents
Vaccination information: 68% of Alaska’s eligible population age 6 months and older have received at least a first dose of COVID-19 vaccine, and 28.3% of eligible Alaskans have received at least their first booster dose (ages 5 and older).
Officials encourage anyone with symptoms to test for COVID-19, despite vaccination status.
The South Peninsula Hospital’s COVID-19 Test and Vaccine Clinic at 4201 Bartlett Street is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday-Friday. Testing is recommended for individuals experiencing COVID-like symptoms, for those with known exposure to an individual who tested positive for COVID-19, for travel requirements, with a provider referral and in advance of medical appointments. In addition to the PCR testing offered at the hospital’s walk-up clinic, free home-test kits are available at the hospital’s main entrance 24/7, at the Homer Chamber of Commerce and for purchase at numerous local retailers.
PCR COVID-19 testing will be offered at the walk-up clinic, no appointment necessary. Insurance is now billed for testing. Those uninsured or not using insurance will be charged $50, and can pay at time of service or be billed. Test results will be provided on South Peninsula Hospital’s electronic health portal, and are normally available within 24 hours.
In addition to the stand-alone clinic on Bartlett Street, both COVID-19 testing and vaccinations are offered by appointment at Homer Medical Center and the hospital’s Family Care Clinic. For more information on SPH COVID-19 services and care, visit www.sphosp.org and click on the Covid tab, or call 907-235-0235.
Where to get vaccinated
Following current Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommendations, eligible individuals may choose which vaccine they receive as a booster dose. Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines are available for individuals ages five and over, and boosters are offered to eligible groups as recommended by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and as made available by FDA under emergency use authorizations.
Vaccines will be offered by appointment on Thursdays and Fridays between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. at the PH COVID-19 Test and Vaccine Clinic.
Vaccines also are offered by appointment at Homer Medical Clinic and the SPH Family Care Clinic. For more information at the Bartlett Street clinic, talk to your doctor or call 235-0235 for additional information. To make appointments, call 235-8586.
To make appointments at the South Peninsula Family Care Clinic, call 235-0900. The Moderna, Pfizer and Janssen vaccines are offered.
The SPH COVID-19 Test and Vaccine Clinic is offering free COVID-19 bivalent booster shots by appointment. These mRNA boosters contain vaccines against the original strain of the virus that causes COVID-19, and the newest Omicron BA.5 variant. Anyone over 12 years of age is eligible for the new booster, so long as they have completed the primary vaccine series and it has been more than two months since their last dose of any COVID vaccine (primary series or booster). Pfizer is approved for individuals 12 years of age and older, and Moderna for 18 years and older. Both of these bivalent boosters are available under FDA Emergency Use Authorization and recommended by the Centers for Disease Control as a way of staying “up to date” in a person’s vaccination status.
Appointments are required and can be made at www.sphosp.org for the SPH Vaccine and Testing Site. Appointments at the Vaccine and Testing Site are available through Saturday this week, and Tuesday-Saturday next, and can be made by clicking here and scrolling down to Bivalent Boosters.
Appointments will continue to be made available into the fall and winter as needed.
For those needing assistance making appointments, call 907-235-0235, or contact their primary care office. More information can be found on the hospital’s website, sphosp.org.