COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)

Public can now access services in person at both lobbies of Homer City Hall

Alert level remains high for state, Kenai Peninsula

Due to relatively low COVID-19 transmission in Homer and the effectiveness of vaccines, the city of Homer has made in-person public services available at City Hall as of April 29.

The Finance counter in the main lobby area at the Pioneer Avenue entrance and the Clerks counter in the lobby area off of Kachemak Way are now open for services during regular hours, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. Masks and social distancing requirements remain in place. City Manager Rob Dumouchel announced the changes at the April 26 Homer city Council meeting.

The Homer Public Library also has expanded hours, with new hours 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and 2-6 p.m. Saturdays.

All alternative ways to conduct city business that were added in response to the pandemic remain in place, such as online bill payment, services by appointment, online library checkout and curbside pickup, device loans and free wifi in the library parking lot.

The Alaska Department of Health and Social Services on Tuesday reported 102 new positive cases of COVID-19 for the period of Monday, May 4. Eight of the cases were for nonresidents.

On the Kenai Peninsula, Kenai had three new cases and Seward and Soldotna had one each. Elsewhere in the state, Fairbanks had 18 cases, North Pole had seven, Wasilla had 15, Anchorage had 18, the Fairbanks North Star Borough had four, Palmer had six, Ketchikan had three, Nome had three, Juneau had two, and there were one each in the Bethel Census Area, Big Lake, Delta Junction, Houston, the Kusilvak Census Area, the Prince of Wales-Hyder Census Area, Salcha, Sitka, Sutton-Alpine, Valdez, Willow, Wrangell and the Yukon-Koyukuk Census Area.

The southern peninsula dropped into the medium alert level this week, according to the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District dashboard. There have been 15 reported resident positive cases of COVID-19 in the past 14 days, with six in Anchor Point, three in Homer and six in the other Kenai Peninsula Borough south location.

There have now been a cumulative total of 65,762 COVID-19 cases in the state of Alaska, according to state data. Of those, 2,756 cases have been among nonresidents. A total of 342 Alaska resident deaths have been related to COVID-19, while five nonresidents have died with the disease while in Alaska.

Coronavirus disease 2019, or COVID-19, is the disease caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

The alert level statewide is high, with 19.07 cases per 100,000 people. On the peninsula, the alert level also is high, at 11.51 cases per 100,000. The alert level for the central peninsula is 13.64 per 100,000 and for the southern peninsula is 7.64 per 100,000. The Fairbanks North Star Borough has the highest alert level in the state at 50.14 cases per 100,000.

As of Tuesday, there were 55 people being hospitalized in Alaska for COVID-19, as well as eight additional persons being hospitalized for a suspected case of the virus. According to the state’s hospital data dashboard, 5.3% of all people hospitalized in the state are being hospitalized for COVID-19. Eleven people are on ventilators.

There have been a cumulative total of 1,503 Alaska residents hospitalized for COVID-19 over the course of the pandemic.

According to the South Peninsula Hospital’s tally of positive cases through May 3, on the Kenai Peninsula there have been 4,267 people who have tested positive for COVID-19, with 719 in the hospital service area, 83 in Anchor Point, 19 in Fritz Creek, 495 in Homer and 122 in other small villages or census areas on the southern peninsula.

Of tests done since May 1, there were 47 tests done, of which 34 were negative, none were positive and 13 are pending.

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. 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 Michael Armstrong at marmstrong@homernews.com.

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