CDC raises COVID-19 alert level for peninsula

No new Alaska deaths reported.

The Alaska Department of Health and Social Services reported no new deaths in its report last Wednesday, May 25. With the influx of summer workers in the tourism and fishing industries, the number of positive test cases for nonresidents nearly doubled compared to the May 18 report. Eight nonresident cases were in Homer, with the purpose under investigation.

The case rate for Homer increased slightly over the last week, from 50 to 52 positive cases. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention inceased the risk level for the Kenai Peninsula Borough to medium or yellow.

South Peninsula Hospital recorded 55 positive cases at its facilities for the week of May 25-31, according to SPH Public Information Officer Derotha Ferraro.

SPH had eight new ER visits and three admissions of patients with COVID-19.

The positivity rate increased slightly, according to the SPH report, with 438 new tests done, of which 55 were positive, a 13% positivity rate.

The Alaska death toll from the COVID-19 pandemic remains at 1,252 resident deaths.

The hospital’s Bartlett Street Vaccine and Testing Clinic offers second boosters of mRNA vaccines to adults age 50 or older, people who are moderately or severely immunocompromised, or people who received Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen COVID-19 vaccine for their first shot and booster. People should talk to their health-care providers for advice on if and when they should get the second booster. For full information on eligibility and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s guidance, visit Vaccines and second boosters are offered on Sundays and Mondays. Because of the increased demand for second boosters, appointments are strongly encouraged.

For the latest report on May 25 for the period of May 18-24, the state reported 1,911 new resident COVID-19 cases and 552 new nonresident cases.

A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website at shows the risk levels by county using metrics like numbers of people hospitalized and staffing levels. According to that link, the Kenai Peninsula Borough is in the medium-risk or yellow category. At this level, CDC recommends people stay up to date with COVID-19 vaccines and get tested if they have symptoms. People may choose to wear facemasks at any time, and people at high risk for severe illness should talk to healthcare providers about if they need to wear a mask or take other precautions.

DHSS 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, May 25-31:

Alert level: High (KPB)

New total tests: 441 (tested through South Peninsula Hospital)

New positive tests: 52

Test positivity rate: 12%

New COVID-related Emergency Room visits: 8

New COVID hospitalizations: 3

Monoclonal antibody infusions: 9

Vaccinations: 50

Southern Kenai Peninsula cases (7-day rate, May 25-31): 435 per 100,000 or 61 actual; high alert level

Central Kenai Peninsula cases (7-day rate, May 25-31): 186 per 100,000 or 69 actual; high alert level

Eastern Kenai Peninsula cases (7-day rate, May 25-31): 78 per 100,000 or four actual; substantial alert level

New peninsula deaths: 0

Cumulative deaths: 27 residents (12 in Homer, 10 in Anchor Point, five in Kenai Peninsula South)

School cases: The last day of school was May 19 and thus no new staff or student cases have been reported.

State numbers, May 25

Alert level: High, 262.17 per 100,000

New cases: 1,911 residents, 552 nonresidents

Kenai Peninsula cases (May 25-31): Homer, 52; Kenai, 12; Soldotna, 41; Seward, 4; Anchor Point, 5; Nikiski, 2; Kenai Peninsula South, 1; Kenai Peninsula North, 8; Sterling, 6; Fritz Creek, 3.

Cumulative cases: 251,425 residents and 9,070 nonresidents

Total hospitalizations: 3,776 (14 new hospitalizations)

Current hospitalizations: 46 confirmed positive

Patients on ventilators: 1

Hospitalization rate: 3.6%

State cumulative deaths: 1,252 residents, 33 nonresidents

Vaccination information: 72.2% of Alaska’s eligible population has received a first dose of COVID-19 vaccine, and 65.1% of eligible Alaskans have completed a full vaccination series.

Testing locations

Officials encourage anyone with symptoms to test for COVID-19, despite vaccination status.

The SPH COVID-19 testing and vaccine clinic is open 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily at its Bartlett Street site. Testing is for people with symptoms, traveling, for pre-procedure screening and for exposure six days after exposure of after being at social gatherings. Test results can be accessed on the SPH patient portal within 24 hours.

SVT Health & Wellness offers testing at its three SVT Health & Wellness locations: 880 East End Road, Homer (226-2228); 72351 Milo Fritz Ave., Anchor Point (226-2238), and 206 Main Street, Seldovia (907-435-3262).

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. Pfizer BioNTech, Moderna and Janssen COVID-19 vaccine booster shots are available for anyone who is six months or more after their initial series of the Pfizer or Moderna series and are age 18 and older or anyone who is at least two months after their Janssen vaccine.

Moderna and Pfizer vaccines will be given 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sundays and Mondays. Because of increased demand, appointments are recommended.

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.

Safeway – Homer, 90 Sterling Highway, offers clinics Monday-Friday by appointment or walk-ins. Call 226-1060 for appointments. The Moderna vaccine is available Monday-Friday by walk-in or appointment. The Pfizer vaccine is available daily for ages 12 and older by walk-in or appointment.

Ninilchik Clinic, 15765 Kingsley Road, Ninilchik offers Moderna, Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson/Janssen vaccines 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. by appointment. Call 907-567-3970.

SVT Health & Wellness offers Moderna and Pfizer by appointment for established medical patients of the three SVT Health & Wellness locations: 880 East End Road, Homer (226-2228); 72351 Milo Fritz Ave., Anchor Point (226-2238), and 206 Main Street, Seldovia (907-435-3262).