Health Fair returns, even in times of COVID-19

Health Fair includes blood draws, blood drives and flu vaccine clinics

By now I hope you’ve heard the 37th annual Rotary Health Fair is happening, and it begins next week. Like most things during the pandemic, it’s been re-imagined, but the centerpieces of the fair remain the same: low-cost blood tests, free flu shots and great health-care information.

You can make your blood draw appointment now by going to It’s simple, but if you need some help call the Health Fair Hotline at 907-399-3158. New this year, appointments are required (sorry, no walk-ins can be accommodated) and you must pay online using a credit or debit card when you make your appointment.

Appointments are available from 7:30-10:30 a.m. Monday through Friday, Oct. 12-Oct. 30 and Nov. 4-6. When you make your appointment, you can read about your test options.

Also new this year is the location for the blood draws. It’s still on the hospital campus, but not in the main hospital building. Come up Bartlett Street, as if you’re going to the hospital, but turn left on Cityview Avenue. It’s a small gravel road that will lead you towards a tree-lined parking area that is designated for those getting their blood drawn.

Once you park, you will stay in your car and call the phone number that’s posted. You’ll be asked some COVID screening questions, and once cleared, you’ll be escorted to the building by a Rotarian. Everyone participating will be required to wear a mask or cloth face covering. There will be no exceptions.

The goal is to keep people as COVID-safe as possible, so we’ll be moving people along as efficiently as we can. In other words, there won’t be the time and space to chat with your neighbor, whom you might not have seen since the last health fair.

While there won’t be the one-day signature event at the high school that many associate with the health fair, there will be recorded videos, Zoom presentations and Facebook Live events full of great health-care info.

Among the events that will be part of this year’s health fair is a one-day blood drive by the Blood Bank of Alaska. It will be from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Oct. 18 at the back entrance of South Peninsula Hospital’s Training Center, 203 W. Pioneer Ave. Appointments are recommended and can be made by calling 907-222-5630.

While the health fair may look and feel different this year, it’s more important than ever. It may seem like all we hear about is COVID-19 (and the upcoming elections), but the fact is other health issues haven’t gone away during the pandemic. Every year we hear stories of people who uncovered a serious health concern as a result of the low-cost blood tests offered through the fair. This year likely won’t be an exception to that.

The health fair is possible every year due to the unique partnership of the Rotary Club of Homer-Kachemak Bay and South Peninsula Hospital and scores of participating health-care providers — not to mention overwhelming community support. Thank you for taking the changes in stride and making this another fair that makes a positive difference in the health of the entire community.

Lori Evans is the 2020-21 president of the Rotary Club of Homer-Kachemak Bay and a former editor and publisher of the Homer News.