Homer still has most COVID-19 cases on peninsula as statewide count continues to grow

Homer’s tally of COVID-19 cases grew to 17, the state announced Friday, as daily case increases continue. There have been no new deaths from the disease.

The Alaska Department of Health and Social Services announced 11 new cases of the illness caused by the novel coronavirus on Friday, which reflects the number of new cases reported to the state on Thursday. The state now has a total of 524 cases, 380 of which have recovered so far.

There are also now 43 cumulative non-Alaska resident cases in the state, 33 of whom are seafood industry workers and six of whom are located on the Kenai Peninsula.

The peninsula itself now has 68 resident cases of COVID-19. The new peninsula cases announced by DHSS on Friday are in Homer, Nikiski, Anchor Point and in the Kenai Peninsula Borough outside a major community.

Homer has the most cases of any peninsula city with 17, while there are 13 cases in Kenai, 12 in the “other” category used for communities in the borough with less than 1,000 people, 10 in Soldotna, five in Anchor Point, four in Nikiski, three each in Sterling and Seward, and one in Fritz Creek.

Of the cases in Homer, 13 are still active while four have recovered. The Fritz Creek case has recovered, and three of the five Anchor Point cases are still active. The other two are men who died, one in state and one out of state.

The other new cases announced Friday are in Anchorage and Eagle River. Of the new cases, DHSS reported that three are male and eight are female. One of these new cases tested positive in Kotzebue, but does not live there, DHSS said in a press release. COVID-19 cases are recorded according to where a person lives, not where they are at the time that they test positive.

To date, a total of 60,990 tests have been conducted statewide, according to DHSS. While there have been 48 total cumulative hospitalizations for confirmed cases of COVID-19, there are eight people who are currently being hospitalized for either known cases of the disease or suspected cases, according to data on the state’s coronavirus response hub.

On the peninsula, Central Peninsula Hospital has conducted a total of 1,259 tests so far, according to information from Public Information Officer Bruce Richards. Of those, 1,184 tests have come back negative and 55 are still pending. There have been a total of 15 positive tests results at CPH.

Locally, South Peninsula Hospital has done a total of 1,929 tests so far, according to Public Information Officer Derotha Ferraro, both at the hospital and at the testing site out on the Homer Spit. Of those, 1,770 tests have come back negative and 126 are still pending. There have been a total of 33 positive test results so far at South Peninsula Hospital.

The hospital’s testing site on the Homer Spit is open for:

  • Those working in critical infrastructure or the fishing industry
  • Those who have recently returned from traveling out of state
  • Those who have been exposed to someone with a confirmed case of COVID-19
  • Those with any new onset of COVID-19 symptoms
  • And those who have a referral from a health care provider

The testing site is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. every day except Wednesdays. Or, people can go to the main hospital entrance for drive-up testing if they are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 or have a referral from a provider. Call the COVID-19 nurse line at 907-235-0235 ahead of time.

Reach Megan Pacer at mpacer@homernews.com.