The Alaska Department of Health and Social Services reported 353 new COVID-19 cases and one new death on Wednesday, as Alaska continues to see its largest increases in cases since the pandemic began.
State data shows 31 new cases on the Kenai Peninsula on Wednesday, but none in Homer or the rest of the southern peninsula. The southern peninsula, from Ninilchik south, has had a total of 32 new COVID-19 cases over the last two weeks.
The person who died was a woman in her 80s whose residency was the northern peninsula.
There are four active cases in Anchor Point, two active cases in Fritz Creek, 32 active cases in Homer, and 17 active cases in the Other South category used for communities on the southern peninsula with populations of less than 1,000.
Of the new cases announced Wednesday, 350 were among Alaska residents and three were nonresidents.
There are now a cumulative total of 14,097 resident COVID-19 cases in the state, with 7,604 of them still considered active. There are a total of 1,058 nonresident cases, with 413 of those still active.
There have now been a cumulative total of 413 hospitalizations of Alaska residents with COVID-19, and seven nonresidents have been hospitalized. According to the state’s coronavirus response hub data, there are 63 people currently being hospitalized for COVID-19, as well as 17 people being hospitalized for suspected cases. There are eight people currently on ventilators statewide, and 343 ventilators are still available.
Statewide, 30 out of 130 adult ICU beds are currently available, and 468 non-ICU beds are available out of about 1,100.
There have now been a total of 71 Alaska resident deaths linked to COVID-19, according to the state.
The seven-day rolling positivity rate for the Kenai Peninsula is now 10.98%, higher than the average seven-day positivity rate of the state as whole, which is 6.89%.
Alaska has conducted 580,599 COVID-19 tests to date, and the current average testing turnaround time is 3.2 days, according to state data.
Of the new cases announced Wednesday, there are 168 in Anchorage, 55 in Wasilla, 23 in Fairbanks, 18 in Palmer, 13 in Kenai, 11 in Soldotna, nine in North Pole, seven in Eagle River, six in Juneau, five each in the Dillingham Census Area and Kotzebue, four in the Bethel Census Area, three each in Nikiski, Tok and Bethel, two each in the northern Kenai Peninsula and Sterling, and one each in Chugiak, Girdwood, Delta Junction, Big Lake, Meadow Lakes, the Mat-Su Borough, Utqiagvik, Douglas, the Yakutat plus Hoonah-Angoon area, the Aleutians West Census Area, the Bristol Bay plus Lake and Peninsula Borough, and the Kusilvak Census Area. There is one resident case for Wednesday listed as having an unknown residency.
Of the nonresident cases reported Wednesday, one is in Anchorage and the other two are unknown.
As COVID-19 cases on the southern peninsula continue to rise, South Peninsula Hospital has moved back to more strict rules for visitation for the time being. As part of her regular as part of the city’s Unified Command, hospital Public Information Officer Derotha Ferraro told the Homer City Council during its Monday meeting that the hospital is now operating a visitation policy with the understanding that the community is at a moderate risk level.
The Long Term Care wing of the hospital has once again been completely closed to visitors. Visitors are not allowed right now for any hospital patients who have tested positive for COVID-19, Ferraro said.
Patients in the surgery, acute care, emergency room and obstetrics can have one visitor per patient. There is no visitation after 6 p.m.
Long Term Care will likely remain closed to visitors for some time, Ferraro said, because that department has to use Kenai Peninsula Borough case rates to make their decisions.
“We do not have any employees here at the hospital out with COVID-19, but we do have a few employees quarantining at home due to close contact with known positives,” Ferraro said. “And as case counts increase in the community, I think we’re all probably experiencing that in some way or another either with folks we know or the workforce.”
South Peninsula Hospital has conducted 11,112 COVID-19 tests, with 10,806 of them coming back negative, according to Ferraro. The hospital has had a total of 148 positive test results, and 158 tests were still pending Wednesday.
The NTC Community Clinic in Ninilchik has conducted a total of 2,558 tests so far, with 74 coming back positive, according to data last updated on Oct. 23.
SVT Health & Wellness has conducted a total of 835 COVID-19 tests, with 812 of those coming back negative and eight still pending. The organization has processed a total of 15 tests that came back positive, according to data last updated Oct. 27. SVT Health & Wellness has clinics in Seldovia, Homer and Anchor Point.
Testing locations on the Kenai Peninsula:
Free COVID-19 tests are offered 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. seven days a week at the lower level of the South Peninsula Hospital Specialty Clinic, at 4201 Bartlett Street, Homer. Please use the Danview Avenue access. Tests are for those who have had recent travel out of state, have been exposed to someone with a confirmed case of COVID-19, have new onset of any symptom related to COVID-19, or have a provider referral. See the complete list of eligible individuals at www.sphosp.org or call the COVID information line at 235-0235. Please call and pre-register before coming if and when possible.
Testing is also available through the SVT Health & Wellness clinics in Homer, Seldovia and Anchor Point. Call ahead at 907-226-2228.
In Ninilchik, NTC Community Clinic is providing testing on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. The testing is only for those traveling, symptomatic, needing testing for medical procedures, or with a known exposure after seven days. Only 20 tests will be offered per day. To make an appointment to be tested at the NTC Community Clinic, call 907-567-3970.
On the central peninsula, testing is available 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.
In Seward, testing is available at Providence Seward, Seward Community Health Center, Glacier Family Medicine and North Star Health Clinic.
Reach Megan Pacer at email@example.com.