The Alaska Department of Health and Social Services announced eight COVID-19-related deaths on Wednesday, including the state’s first two pediatric deaths. The deaths date back to 2021 and include two deaths on the Kenai Peninsula: a Soldotna woman in her 60s who died in October, a Soldotna man in his 70s who died in January, as well as two infants younger than 12 months from the Anchorage/Matanuska-Susitna region who died in 2021.
The total number of positive cases for the southern peninsula as of Wednesday stands at 2,972.
For the two-day period of Jan. 31 and Feb. 1, the state reported 4,147 new COVID-19 cases. According to testing of cases through Jan. 9, about 98% of all new positive cases have been the highly infectious omicron variant.
At South Peninsula Hospital, Public Information Officer Derotha Ferraro said even with the increase in COVID-19 cases, the hospital is almost back to normal staffing numbers.
“Staff absences related to COVID are really slowing down, and we hope to be pretty close to normal staffing in the next week to 10 days,” Ferraro wrote in an email to Homer News.
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.
Through Friday, Capstone Clinic, a certified contractor of Alaska DHSS, offers COVID-19 testing from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Homer Public Health Center at 195 E. Bunnell Ave. This is a drive-up testing clinic, and no appointment is necessary.
Southern Kenai Peninsula numbers, Jan. 27-Feb.1
Alert level: High
New total tests: 840 (tested through South Peninsula Hospital)
New positive tests: 109
Test positivity rate: 13%
New COVID-related Emergency Room visits: 12
New COVID hospitalizations: 4
Monoclonal antibody infusions: 3
Hospital staff vaccinations: 379 or 71%
Southern Kenai Peninsula cases (7-day rate, Jan. 19-25): 1,413 per 100,000 or 198 actual; high alert level
Central Kenai Peninsula cases (7-day rate, Jan. 19-25): 1,736 per 100,000 or 644 actual; high alert level
Eastern Kenai Peninsula cases (7-day rate, Jan. 19-25): 3,014 per 100,000 or 154 actual; high alert level
New peninsula deaths: 2
Cumulative deaths: 20 residents (10 in Homer, eight in Anchor Point, two in Kenai Peninsula South)
Vaccination information: 75.8% of Homer’s population has received a first dose of COVID-19 vaccine, and 70.7% of eligible residents have completed a full vaccination series. In Anchor Point, 51.1% have received a first dose and 47.2% are fully vaccinated. In the other Kenai Peninsula south, 25.2% have received a first dose and 22.7% are fully vaccinated.
School cases: Chapman School, 8; Homer High School, 6; Homer Middle School, 10; Homer Flex School, 2; Fireweed Academy, 3; Paul Banks Elementary, 5; McNeil Canyon, 4; West Homer Elementary, 11; small communities (census regions less than 1,000), 4.
State numbers, Jan. 31-Feb. 1
Alert level: High, 1,922.34 per 100,000
New cases: 4,056 residents, 91 nonresidents
Kenai Peninsula cases (Jan. 27-Feb. 2): Homer, 131; Kenai, 249; Soldotna, 299; Seward, 154; Anchor Point, 36; Nikiski, 23; Kenai Peninsula South, 27; Kenai Peninsula North, 37; Sterling, 36; Fritz Creek, 4.
Cumulative cases: 213,606 residents and 7,471 nonresidents
Total hospitalizations: 3,474
Current hospitalizations: 197, 184 confirmed positive, 13 suspected positive
Patients on ventilators: 10
Hospitalization rate: 12.5
State cumulative deaths: 1,060 residents, 33 nonresidents
Vaccination information: 69.1% of Alaska’s eligible population has received a first dose of COVID-19 vaccine, and 61.7% of eligible Alaskans have completed a full vaccination series.
Officials encourage anyone with symptoms to test for COVID-19, despite vaccination status.
Through Friday, Capstone Clinic, a certified contractor of Alaska DHSS, offers COVID-19 testing from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Homer Public Health Center at 195 E. Bunnell Ave. This is a drive-up testing clinic, and no appointment is necessary. Please stay in your car when you arrive and a testing personnel will come to you. These are Cue COVID-19 molecular tests with rapid results. Participants will receive results within 30 minutes-1 hour via COVIDsecureapp.com. Please register with COVID Secure App before arriving.
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.
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.
Pfizer and Moderna vaccines and boosters are offered daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesdays. Janssen vaccines are offered only on Sundays and Tuesdays.
Pfizer vaccines for children ages 5-11 are available by appointment on Wednesday and Saturday.
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 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday-Friday by appointment or walk-ins. Call 226-1060 for appointments. The Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson/Janssen vaccines are offered.
Kachemak Medical Group, 4129 Bartlett Street, offers vaccines by appointment. Call 235-7000.
Ulmer’s Pharmacy, 3858 Lake Street, offers Johnson & Johnson/Janssen vaccines by appointment of walk-ins. Call 235-7760.
Ninilchik Clinic, 15765 Kingsley Road, Ninilchik offers Moderna and Johnson & Johnson/Janssen vaccines by appointment and Pfizer on demand. Call 907-567-3970.
SVT Health & Wellness offers Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson/Janssen and Moderna vaccines 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).
Reach Sarah Knapp at firstname.lastname@example.org.