The Alaska Department of Health and Social Services’ first COVID-19 data update of the year reported that nearly 3,000 new cases of the virus were reported in Alaska over the five-day period beginning Dec. 29 and ending on Jan. 2. The 2,872 newly reported cases include 2,746 cases among Alaska residents and 126 cases among nonresidents.
The new cases caused a jump in the state’s alert level, which is based on the number of cases reported over a seven-day period per 100,000 people. DHSS reported that the statewide rate had jumped to 506.1, from 135.7 last Wednesday. A region is considered to be at high risk when its seven-day case rate per 100,000 people is greater than 100. The Kenai Peninsula Borough’s seven-day case rate per 100,000 people was 169.7 on Monday.
On the southern Kenai Peninsula, both tests and the positivity rate increased slightly over the last week. For the week ending Dec. 29 there were 537 tests done with 32 positive, a 6% positivity rate. For the week ending Jan. 4, 614 tests were done with 40 positive, a 7% positivity rate.
South Peninsula Hospital had one hospitalization last week, but as of Wednesday had no one hospitalized with or of COVID-19, according to an email from SPH Public Information Officer Derotha Ferraro.
The state also reported 18 new resident hospitalizations and one new nonresident death Monday. The individual who died was a man in his 50s diagnosed in Fairbanks. On Monday, there were 57 people hospitalized in Alaska due to COVID-19, including two people who were considered persons under investigation for the disease.
As of Monday, seven cases of the omicron variant had been detected in Alaska since the first detected case was detected on Nov. 29.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention revised quarantine guidelines for people infected with COVID-19 or who are identified as a close contact of someone infected with the virus. The CDC said Monday that people with COVID-19 should isolate for five days and, if asymptomatic, wear a mask when around others to minimize risk of transmission, citing data that show most transmission occurs “early in the course of illness.”
A five-day quarantine is also recommended for close contacts who are unvaccinated or who are more than six months out from completing their vaccine series and are not yet boosted. More quarantine guidance is available at cdc.gov.
Alaska will no longer offer on-site COVID-19 testing at airports beginning at the end of this month. Currently, testing is available at some Alaska airports for ticketed passengers. After Jan. 31, all airport testing will transition to “other testing resources within each community,” the department said.
DHSS encourages Alaskans to get vaccinated and to get booster shots, noting that it is the single most important action that can be taken to protect yourself and your community.
The southern peninsula continues to have the highest rate per 100,000 people on the Kenai Peninsula, at 257 cases per 100,000 compared to 253 cases per 100,000 for the central peninsula and 208 cases per 100,000 for the eastern peninsula.
Southern Kenai Peninsula numbers, Dec. 22-28 (not all information reported last week)
Alert level: High
New total tests: 527 (tested through South Peninsula Hospital)
New positive tests: 31
Test positivity rate: 6%
New Emergency Room visits: 8
New hospitalizations: 0
Monoclonal antibody infusions: 18
Southern Kenai Peninsula numbers, Dec. 29-Jan. 4
Alert level: High
New total tests: 614 (tested through South Peninsula Hospital)
New positive tests: 40
Test positivity rate: 7%
Cumulative cases: 2,302 residents
New Emergency Room visits: 3
New hospitalizations: 1 (none currently hospitalized on Jan. 4)
Monoclonal antibody infusions: 11
SPH staff vaccination rate: 71% fully vaccinated
Southern Kenai Peninsula cases (7-day rate, Dec. 29-Jan. 4): 257 per 100,000 or 36 actual; high alert level
Central Kenai Peninsula cases (7-day rate, Dec. 29-Jan. 4): 208 per 100,000 or 77 actual; high alert level
Eastern Kenai Peninsula cases (7-day rate, Dec. 29-Jan. 4): 235 per 100,000 or 12 actual; high alert level
New deaths: 0
Cumulative deaths: 20 residents (10 in Homer, eight in Anchor Point, two in Kenai Peninsula South)
Vaccination information: 74.9% of Homer’s population has received a first dose of COVID-19 vaccine, and 69.8% of eligible residents have completed a full vaccination series. In Anchor Point, 50.4% have received a first dose and 46.9% are fully vaccinated. In the other Kenai Peninsula south, 24.8% have received a first dose and 22.6% are fully vaccinated.
School cases: Homer High School, 2; Fireweed Academy, 1; small communities (census regions less than 1,000), 4.
State numbers, Dec. 29-Jan. 2
Alert level: High, 506.1 per 100,000
New cases: 2,746 residents, 126 nonresidents
Kenai Peninsula cases: Homer, 14; Kenai, 12; Soldotna, 14; Seward, 8; Anchor Point, 2; Nikiski, 2; Kenai Peninsula South, 1; Kenai Peninsula North, 0; Sterling, 7.
Test positivity rate: 12.78%
Cumulative cases: 154,369 residents and 5,720 nonresidents
Total hospitalizations: 3,629
Current hospitalizations: 55, two under investigation; 18 new hospitalizations since Dec. 29.
Patients on ventilators: 6
Hospitalization rate: 4.7%
New deaths: 1 (nonresident)
Cumulative deaths: 947 residents, 31 nonresidents
Vaccination information: 62.9% of Alaska’s eligible population has received a first dose of COVID-19 vaccine, and 57.5% of eligible Alaskans have completed a full vaccination series.
Officials encourage anyone with symptoms to test for COVID-19, despite vaccination status.
The SPH COVID-19 testing and vaccine clinic is open 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily and 9 a.m.-noon New Year’s Eve; closed New Year’s Day.Home kits are available for pick up while closed. Testing is for people with symptoms, traveling, for pre-procedure screening and for exposure six days after exposure of after being at social gatherings.
SVT Health & Wellness offers testing at its three SVT Health & Wellness locations: 880 East End Road, Homer (226-2228); 72351 Milo Fritz Ave., Anchor Point (226-2238), and 206 Main Street, Seldovia (907-435-3262).
Where to get vaccinated
Following current Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommendations, eligible individuals may choose which vaccine they receive as a booster dose. Pfizer BioNTech, Moderna and Janssen COVID-19 vaccine booster shots are available for anyone who is six months or more after their initial series of the Pfizer or Moderna series and are age 18 and older or anyone who is at least two months after their Janssen vaccine.
Pfizer and Moderna vaccines and boosters are offered daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesdays. Janssen vaccines are offered only on Sundays and Tuesdays.
Pfizer vaccines for children ages 5-11 are available by appointment on Wednesday and Saturday.
Vaccines also are offered by appointment at Homer Medical Clinic and the SPH Family Care Clinic. For more information at the Bartlett Street clinic, talk to your doctor or call
To make appointments at Homer Medical Center, call
To make appointments at the South Peninsula Family Care Clinic, call
Safeway – Homer, 90 Sterling Highway, offers clinics 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday-Friday by appointment or walk-ins. Call
Kachemak Medical Group, 4129 Bartlett Street, offers vaccines by appointment. Call
Ulmer’s Pharmacy, 3858 Lake Street, offers Johnson & Johnson/Janssen vaccines by appointment of walk-ins. Call
Ninilchik Clinic, 15765 Kingsley Road, Ninilchik offers Moderna and Johnson & Johnson/Janssen vaccines by appointment and Pfizer on demand. Call
SVT Health & Wellness offers Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson/Janssen and Moderna vaccines for established medical patients of the three SVT Health & Wellness locations: 880 East End Road, Homer (226-2228); 72351 Milo Fritz Ave., Anchor Point (226-2238), and 206 Main Street, Seldovia (907-435-3262).
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