The central Kenai Peninsula saw growth in the number of new COVID-19 cases on Wednesday.
Nine new resident cases were identified on the peninsula — six in Kenai and three in Soldotna. One new nonresident case was also identified on the peninsula — a worker in the seafood industry.
Statewide, 49 new cases in total were identified: 40 resident cases and nine nonresident cases.
Cases reported each day by noon reflect the cases that were reported to the state the previous day. There are now a total of 1,226 resident cases of COVID-19 in Alaska, and 248 nonresident cases.
For many weeks, the number of people who had recovered in Alaska outweighed the number of active cases. That changed on July 4, when data on the state’s coronavirus response hub website shows active cases surpassed the number of recoveries. As of July 7, state data shows there are 563 recovered people and 646 active cases.
The peninsula now has a total of 196 cases, with 99 of them being active. Among residents, there have been 42 cases in Homer, 32 in Seward, 28 in the “other south” category used for communities in the southern peninsula with populations of fewer than 1,000 people, 25 in Kenai, 25 in Soldotna, eight in Anchor Point, five in Nikiski, four in Sterling and three each in Fritz Creek and the “other north” category. Among nonresidents, there have been 13 cases in Seward, four in Kenai and two each in Nikiski and Homer.
On Wednesday morning, local bagel shop Everything Bagels announced on Facebook that one of their employees had tested positive for COVID-19.
“They (the employee) are currently quarantined, resting, and on track towards a healthy recovery,” Pamela Parker, owner of Everything Bagels, said in the Facebook post. “We cannot emphasize enough how much we care for the safety of our team, community, and customers.”
Parker told the Clarion Wednesday that her employee started feeling symptoms over the weekend and got tested Monday, with the positive result coming back Wednesday. Parker recommended that anyone who spent a significant amount of time at Everything Bagels between Friday, July 3 and Monday, July 6 should talk to their health care provider about getting tested.
The restaurant was closed all of Saturday and Sunday and closed early on Friday for the Fourth of July weekend. All of the employees wear masks when interacting with customers, but Parker said they are playing it safe by recommending customers get tested and are closing the store until at least July 21.
The other new resident cases reported Wednesday include 17 new cases in Anchorage, one new case in Eagle River, one in Chugiak, one in Cordova, two in Fairbanks, three in North Pole, three in Palmer, one in the Northwest Arctic Borough, one in the Kusilvak Census Area and the first resident case in Unalaska. The nonresident cases include two seafood workers in the Bristol Bay and Lake and Peninsula Boroughs, one visitor and one unknown industry worker in the Fairbanks North Star Borough, one unknown industry worker in the Juneau City and Borough, one seafood industry worker in the Ketchikan Gateway Borough and one visitor and one other industry worker in the Municipality of Anchorage.
In addition to the 49 cases reported by DHSS, Alaska’s Department of Corrections reported Wednesday that an inmate at the Fairbanks Correctional Center tested positive for COVID-19. As part of a protocol implemented on July 1, all newly remanded inmates with DOC are tested for COVID-19 and are quarantined for 14 days before being introduced to the general population.
DOC has conducted 1,268 tests so far on staff and inmates, with 964 negative results and 300 pending results, according to a Wednesday release from the department.
The Fairbanks inmate is the third to test positive while in DOC custody.
As of Wednesday, there were no new deaths reported associated with COVID-19. The state has reported that 17 Alaskans’ deaths have been associated with the disease. There have been 79 total cumulative hospitalizations for confirmed cases of the illness. That number includes people who have since died or since recovered and gone home.
State data on Wednesday showed that 30 people were being actively hospitalized for either confirmed cases of COVID-19 or suspected cases.
As of Wednesday, the state had conducted a total of 133, 401 COVID-19 tests, with a three-day rolling positivity rate of 1.06%.
At Central Peninsula Hospital, a total of 2,284 tests have been conducted, with 30 coming back positive, 2,141 negative and 113 pending results.
South Peninsula Hospital has conducted 4,729 tests, with 77 coming back positive, 4,495 negative and 157 pending results.
Seldovia Village Tribe’s Health and Wellness Clinics have conducted 532 tests, with 11 coming back positive, 520 negative and one pending results.
The NTC Community Clinic in Ninilchik is providing testing for COVID-19. The NTC Community Clinic is the Indian Health Service provider for the Ninilchik Tribe. The clinic is providing testing with a rapid test machine to those with symptoms, travelers and asymptomatic people. There are currently no restrictions on who can get tested. To make an appointment to be tested at the NTC Community Clinic, call 907-567-3970.
Other southern Kenai Peninsula testing sites are at South Peninsula Hospital and at SVT Health and Wellness Clinics in Anchor Point, Homer and Seldovia. Call ahead at the hospital at 907-235-0235 and at the SVT clinics at 907-226-2228. Starting today, the new testing hours at South Peninsula Hospital are 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., seven days a week.
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.
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