COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)

State: 37 new COVID-19 cases Wednesday

Southern peninsula moves down into low risk

The Alaska Department of Health and Social Services reported 40 new COVID-19 infections on Wednesday, only two of which are on the Kenai Peninsula.

Of the 40 new cases reported Wednesday, three of those are in nonresidents. The two peninsula cases are in a Seward resident and a Soldotna resident. As of Wednesday, Homer has gone six days without a single new case of the virus.

New cases are reported out by the state each weekday by around noon, and reflect the number of cases that got reported to the state the day before. DHSS has stopped released a daily case report on weekends and holidays.

As of Wednesday, there were 31 people being hospitalized for COVID-19, and one person being hospitalized for a suspected case. Of all the people in the state currently being hospitalized, 3.8% are being hospitalized for COVID-19, according to the state’s hospital dashboard.

Alaska has seen a total of 56,977 COVID-19 cases since the pandemic began, 2,178 of which were in nonresidents. The state has identified 286 Alaska residents whose deaths have been related to COVID-19, as well as two nonresidents who died while in Alaska.

The peninsula has had a total of 3,772 COVID-19 cases since the pandemic started. Homer has had a total of 459, and the greater southern peninsula region has had a total of 651.

The southern peninsula region dipped back into the low-risk category according to the model used by the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District to measure community spread of COVID-19. The southern peninsula is at low risk with only seven new cases identified over the last 14 days. The region would move back up into medium risk if there were nine or more new cases over 14 days. The model is based on rates of cases per 100,000 people of population.

The Kenai Peninsula Borough is currently in the intermediate alert level, with a 14-day case rate of 5.45 per 100,000. Alert levels are set by the state, with case rates of 5-10 being in the intermediate level, case rates of 10 or higher being in the high alert level and case rates of under five being in the low alert level.

Of the new COVID-19 cases reported Wednesday, there were 13 in Wasilla, nine in Anchorage, six in Fairbanks, three in the Yukon-Koyukuk Census Area, and one each in Cordova, Seward, Soldotna, North Pole, Utqiagvik and Ketchikan. Of the three nonresident cases reported Wednesday, there was one in Anchorage and two in Unalaska.

Testing 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 mpacer@homernews.com.

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