The Alaska Department of Health and Social Services announced 429 new COVID-19 cases in Alaska on Tuesday, including 23 on the Kenai Peninsula. Affected peninsula communities include Soldotna with eight cases, Homer with seven cases, Seward with four cases, Kenai with three cases and Anchor Point with one case.
The new cases bring Alaska’s statewide case total to 44,463, including 43,001 residents and 1,462 nonresidents.
Over the past week, the Kenai Peninsula Borough has conducted 1,095 tests and saw a positivity rate of 9.95%. To date, the borough has conducted 51,364 tests. The current statewide alert level, based on the average daily case rate for the last two weeks, is high. The Kenai Peninsula Borough’s alert level is also high at 57.15.
The state also reported 11 new hospitalizations and 10 new deaths. To date, 930 Alaska residents have been hospitalized due to COVID-19 and 193 have died. Currently, there are 121 people hospitalized in Alaska who are COVID-19 positive or who are considered persons under investigation for the disease. Thirteen of the patients are on ventilators.
Alaska’s daily positivity rate for the past seven days, during which 29,262 tests were conducted, is 4.66%. To date, 1,215,282 tests have been conducted in Alaska.
In addition to the 23 new cases on the peninsula, the state also reported 179 cases in Anchorage, 83 in Wasilla, 27 in Kodiak, 20 in Palmer, 18 in Juneau, 16 in Eagle River, 16 in Fairbanks, 13 in Bethel, nine in Chugiak, seven in Bethel Census Area, two in Kusilvak Census Area, two in Utqiagvik and one each in Bristol Bay plus Lake and Peninsula Boroughs, Dillingham Census Area, Kotzebue, Mat-Su Borough, North Pole, North Slope Borough, Other Chugach, Tok, Valdez, Willow and Yukon-Koyukuk Census Area.
Three nonresident cases were also reported, all in Anchorage.
School risk levels
Winter break began for most KPBSD schools on Dec. 18. School will resume on Jan. 4.
The central peninsula is considered high risk when 52 or more cases have been reported in the region in the last 14 days. As of Tuesday, 363 cases had been reported in the central peninsula over the last two weeks, meaning the region will have to lose 311 cases in order to drop back into medium-risk level.
The southern peninsula is considered high risk when 20 or more cases have been reported in the region in the last 14 days. As of Tuesday, 82 cases had been reported in the southern peninsula over the last two weeks, meaning the region will have to lose 63 cases to drop back into medium-risk level.
The eastern peninsula is considered high risk when eight or more cases have been reported in the region in the last 14 days. As of Tuesday, 24 cases had been reported in the eastern peninsula over the last two weeks, meaning the region will have to lose 17 cases to drop back into medium risk.
Cooper Landing School and Hope School were preventatively shifted to medium-risk level on Dec. 4 by the district in response to growing COVID-19 cases on the peninsula.
Susan B. English School, Nanwalek School and Port Graham School were open for on-site learning and operating at low-risk level at the conclusion of the academic quarter, Dec. 18.
During 100% remote learning, Get-It and Go meals are free for all students and can be picked up daily at school. Operational risk levels, case incidence rates and case numbers by community are updated daily on the district’s risk levels dashboard at covid19.kpbsd.org/dashboard.
Testing locations on the Kenai Peninsula
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 Homer, testing is available from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily at the lower level of South Peninsula Hospital’s Specialty Clinic 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.
On Dec. 25, testing in Homer will be available from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
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.
In Seward, testing is available at Providence Seward, Seward Community Health Center, Glacier Family Medicine and North Star Health Clinic.
Reach reporter Ashlyn O’Hara at firstname.lastname@example.org.