COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)

126 new cases statewide, 3 on the peninsula

Over the past week, the borough has conducted 1,237 tests and saw a positivity rate of 5.17%

The Alaska Department of Health and Social Services announced 126 new COVID-19 cases in Alaska on Monday, including three on the Kenai Peninsula. Affected peninsula communities include Kenai with one case, Nikiski with one case and Soldotna with one case.

The new cases bring Alaska’s statewide total to 45,909, including 44,406 residents and 1,503 nonresidents.

Over the past week, the Kenai Peninsula Borough has conducted 1,237 tests and saw a positivity rate of 5.17%. To date, the borough has conducted 53,142 tests. The current statewide alert level, based on the average daily case rate for the last two weeks, is high at 41.08. The Kenai Peninsula Borough’s alert level is also high at 40.02.

The state also reported two new hospitalizations and no new deaths. To date, 994 people in Alaska have been hospitalized due to COVID-19 and 200 have died. Currently, there are 78 people hospitalized in Alaska who are COVID-19 positive or who are considered persons under investigation for the disease. Ten of the patients are on ventilators.

Alaska’s daily positivity rate for the past seven days, during which 25,819 tests were conducted, is 4.44%. To date, 1,254,397 tests have been conducted in Alaska.

In addition to the three new cases on the peninsula, the state also reported 62 cases in Anchorage, 19 in Wasilla, 13 in Palmer, five in Fairbanks, four in Eagle River, three in Chugiak, three in Utqiagvik, two in Kodiak, two in North Pole and one each in Bethel, Bethel Census Area, Juneau, Kotzebue, Nome, Valdez-Cordova Census Area/Copper River Basin, Yukon-Koyukuk Census area and one with a location still under investigation.

Two nonresident cases were also reported, both in Anchorage.

School risk levels

Winter break began for most KPBSD schools on Dec. 18. School will resume on Jan. 4. Currently schools in the eastern, central and southern areas of the peninsula are operating at high-risk level.

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 Monday, 253 cases had been reported in the central peninsula over the last two weeks, meaning the region will have to lose 202 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 Monday, 55 cases had been reported in the southern peninsula over the last two weeks, meaning the region will have to lose 36 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 Monday, 22 cases had been reported in the eastern peninsula over the last two weeks, meaning the region will have to lose 13 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.

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 ashlyn.ohara@peninsulaclarion.com.

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