COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)

COVID-19 cases continue to rise; state records 19th Alaskan death associated with the disease

Alaska continues its steady climb in new COVID-19 cases each day, with an additional 94 cases recorded by the state on Wednesday. Of those, 92 are Alaska residents and two are nonresidents.

Cases published by the state each day on its coronavirus response hub website reflect the number of cases that were reported to the state the previous day. The state now has a total of 2,132 resident cases and 487 nonresident cases.

None of the new cases are in Homer. There were 34 people being actively hospitalized on Wednesday for either confirmed cases of COVID-19 or suspected cases.

The state reported one additional death of an Alaska resident associated with COVID-19 on Wednesday — a Fairbanks resident. This brings the total Alaska deaths associated with the disease to 19.

The person was a woman in her 80s, the Fairbanks Daily New Miner reported. She had pre-existing health conditions.

In all, there have been 109 people hospitalized for COVID-19 so far in Alaska. That number includes people who have since died or since gotten better and gone home.

The new cases announced Wednesday are in Anchorage, which had 39 cases, Chugiak, which had one new case, and Eagle River, which had two new cases. There were also two new cases in Kenai on Wednesday, one in Seward, 11 in the Valdez-Cordova Census Area, 1o in the Fairbanks North Star Borough, three in the Yukon-Koyukuk Census Area, eight in the Mat-Su Borough, one in the North Slope Borough, seven in Juneau, three in the Ketchikan Gateway Borough, two in Sitka and two with unknown residency. Of the two new nonresident cases announced Wednesday, one is in the Anchorage Municipality and the location of the other is unknown.

The breakdown of cases on the Kenai Peninsula is now as follows: Soldotna now leads the cities on the peninsula with the most cases with 53, followed by Homer with 50. Seward has 47 cases, Kenai has 43, the “Other South” category used for communities on the southern peninsula with populations less than 1,000 people has 30, Anchor Point has none, Sterling has eight, Nikiski and the “Other North” category both have six, and Frtiz Creek has three.

Of the peninsula’s total 255 cases, 155 are still active while 98 people have recovered so far. Statewide, 753 people have recovered, while there are 1,360 active cases.

Alaska has conducted a total of 185,333 COVID-19 tests as of Tuesday, according to the data hub. The state currently has a three-day rolling positivity rate of 3.01%.

Locally, South Peninsula Hospital has conducted a total of 5,673 tests since the pandemic began, according to Public Information Officer Derotha Ferraro. Of those, 5,483 tests have come back negative so far while 99 are still pending. The hospital has had a total of 91 positive test results.

Testing

South Peninsula Hospital is offering free COVID-19 testing today, Thursday, at the Boat House Pavilion on the Homer Spit. Testing is available from noon to 6 p.m., according to a press release from the hospital. There is no charge, but the testing will only be offered to people who meet the following criteria:

  • working in critical infrastructure or the fishing industry,
  • have had recent travel out of state (residents and non-residents)
  • have known exposure to someone with a confirmed case of COVID-19,
  • they have new onset of any symptom related to COVID-19,
  • ferry passengers with ticketed long-distance voyage within the next five days

Those who take advantage of the testing should see their results on the hospital’s patient portal within four to five days, according to the press release. There are no appointments necessary, but people do need to bring their diver’s license or state identification card. Also bring your email address, social security number and phone number to register, and show an insurance card if insured. The pavilion is located at the top of ramp two, near the public restrooms at the Homer Harbor.

Testing continues to be available from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily at South Peninsula Hospital’s main entrance as well as through SVT Health & Wellness clinics in Homer, Seldovia and Anchor Point. Call ahead at the hospital at 907-235-0235 and at the SVT clinics at 907-226-2228.

Testing is also available at the NTC Community Clinic in Ninilchik. The NTC Community Clinic is the Indian Health Service provider for the Ninilchik Tribe. The clinic is providing testing with a rapid testing machine to those with symptoms, travelers and asymptomatic people. There are currently no restrictions on who can get tested. To make an appointment to be tested at the NTC Community Clinic, call 907-567-3970.

On the central peninsula, testing is available on the Central Peninsula 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.

Reach Megan Pacer at mpacer@homernews.com.

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