State reports 68 new cases, 1 new death linked to COVID-19

The state reported 68 new cases of COVID-19 and one new death associated with the disease on Wednesday, with three of the new cases on the Kenai Peninsula.

Of the new cases, 62 are Alaska residents and six are nonresidents. There are two new cases in Sterling and one in the “Other North” category that the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services uses for communities on the northern peninsula that have communities with less than 1,000 people. The state does not publish the names of communities with populations under that number.

The new coronavirus cases recorded by the state each day by noon on the DHSS coronavirus response hub website reflect the number of cases that get reported to the state the day before.

In total, Alaska now has 3,881 cumulative resident cases of COVID-19 and 774 cumulative total cases in nonresidents. There are 2,674 active resident cases, while 1,180 people have recovered or are presumed to have recovered to far.

There are 595 active nonresident cases, while 179 nonresidents have recovered or are presumed recovered.

There have been a total of 164 hospitalizations and 27 deaths that have been associated with the disease. The newest death was reported by the state Wednesday. The Fairbanks Daily News Miner reported that the person was a resident of the Fairbanks North Star Borough.

In a press release on Wednesday, DHSS also confirmed eight new COVID-19 cases at the Anchorage Pioneer Home. Seven are elders and one is a staff member. These cases are in addition to the four cases announced on Aug. 6, bringing the total number of cases at the home to 12 — 10 elders and two staff members. The new cases came about after DHSS tested all residents. Employees have been tested every two weeks, but after the recent outbreak, they underwent another round of testing.

The most recent cases are of residents living in two separate neighborhoods, or sections of the Pioneer Home, according to the press release, with all but one of the cases being from the same neighborhood as the cases reported last week.

“Since the initial COVID-19 case was discovered in the Anchorage Pioneer Home, staff and leadership have responded with increased testing and other infection control measures to quickly detect and respond to any other potential cases inside the home,” said Dr. Anne Zink, Chief Medical Officer, in the press release. “It always causes us great concern when this virus makes its way into our vulnerable populations, which is why I appreciate the swift and responsive actions taken at the home to ensure all affected residents and staff are receiving proper care and monitoring.”

Of the new cases, 40 are in Anchorage, two are in Sterling, one is in the “Other North” category used for communities on the northern Kenai Peninsula with populations of less than 1,000 people, six in the Valdez-Cordova Census Area, six in Fairbanks, one in the Tukon-Koyukuk Census Area, one in Wasilla, two in Juneau, two in the Prince of Wales-Huyder Census Area, and one in Sitka.

Of the new nonresident cases, four are in Anchorage, one is in Juneau and one is in the Yakutat plus Hoonah-Angoon area.

As of Wednesday, there were 31 people being actively hospitalized for confirmed COVID-19 cases, and eight people being hospitalized for suspected cases.

According to the data hub, 292,582 COVID-19 tests have been performed in Alaska to date. This does not reflect the number of individuals tested, since some people require repeat testing. The 14-day average for test turnaround is 3.4 days, according to state data. As of Tuesday, the state had a 7-day rolling positivity rate of 2.54%.

Locally, South Peninsula Hospital has conducted a total of 6,954 tests, according to hospital Public Information Officer Derotha Ferraro. Of those, 6,698 have come back negative and 146 are still pending. SPH has had a total of 110 positive test results so far.

Testing

In Homer, testing continues to be available from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily at South Peninsula Hospital’s main entrance as well as through SVT Health & Wellness clinics in Homer, Seldovia and Anchor Point. Call ahead at the hospital at 907-235-0235 and at the SVT clinics at 907-226-2228.

In Ninilchik, NTC Community Clinic is providing testing on Mondays, 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 on the Central Peninsula 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.

Reach Megan Pacer at mpacer@homernews.com.

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