COVID-19. (Image via CDC)

COVID-19. (Image via CDC)

2 more COVID deaths as cases rise

As of Tuesday, every census region in the state was categorized as high alert status.

The Alaska Department of Health and Social Services announced two new resident COVID-19 deaths Tuesday.

The residents who died were both in Anchorage — a female in her 70s and a male in his 60s.

There were also another 307 COVID cases reported, which included 46 on the Kenai Peninsula.

As of Tuesday, every census region in the state was categorized as high alert status.

The new guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advises all people — both vaccinated and unvaccinated — to wear masks in public areas where seven-day case averages supercede 50 per 100,000. In accordance to this guidance, people on the Kenai Peninsula are now advised to wear facial coverings in public.

The state’s vaccination rate hasn’t budged much in the recent weeks amid the new wave of COVID cases. As of Tuesday, the state reported 52.5% of Alaska residents 12 years and older were fully vaccinated against the virus. In the Kenai Peninsula Borough, 44.6% were fully vaccinated.

As of Tuesday, there were 100 COVID hospitalizations statewide, with 19 patients on ventilators.

According to Bruce Richards, the Central Peninsula Hospital’s external affairs director, there were a total of 10 COVID hospitalizations at CPH on Tuesday.

Medical personnel at CPH have been treating nearly as many COVID patients as they were at the worst of the pandemic last November.

He said in an email there were as many COVID patients — 16 — on July 29 as there were for their record-setting day in November for the most COVID hospitalizations in a single day.

Richards also confirmed via email that three COVID patients at CPH were on ventilators as of Tuesday.

Ventilators, otherwise known as life support, are oxygen-pumping machines connected to a patient through a tube placed down the windpipe.

Richards said it’s important to note that these machines don’t automatically help patients recover from the virus.

“They aren’t a magical cure,” he said. “This is the final option that we have as healthcare providers, and the survival rates in the setting of COVID-19 are very low when it reaches this point.”

Richards also said the COVID patients at CPH seem to have more severe illness now than they did earlier in the pandemic.

“The COVID-19 patients we have cared for in our Intensive Care Unit over the last several weeks are easily the sickest, highest acuity patients that we have ever cared for at our facility,” he said by email.

Getting a vaccine

COVID-19 vaccines do not cost money.

Vaccines are available through the Kenai Fire Department by calling 907-283-8270, by walk-in every week at the Soldotna Wednesday Market, and for both residents and visitors at airports in Anchorage, Juneau and Fairbanks.

Many different businesses on the central peninsula, including pharmacies in Walmart and Walgreens, offer vaccines.

Additionally, Soldotna Professional Pharmacy hosts a walk-in clinic in its strip mall storefront at the “Y” intersection of the Sterling and Kenai Spur highways Monday through Friday from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Vaccination appointments can also be scheduled through the online portal PrepMod, which can be accessed at myhealth.alaska.gov.

A map of vaccine providers can be found on DHSS’ COVID-19 vaccine website at covidvax.alaska.gov.

People who would like assistance with scheduling a vaccination appointment can call the Kenai Peninsula Borough Office of Emergency Management call center. The center operates Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to noon. The central peninsula call center can be reached at 907-262-4636. The Homer call center can be reached at 907-235-4636. The Seward call center can be reached at 907-224-4636.

Testing locations

Officials encourage anyone with symptoms to test for COVID-19, despite vaccination status.

In Kenai, testing is available at the Chignik Lagoon Clinic, Odyssey Family Practice, Kenai Public Health Center, Capstone Clinic and Central Peninsula Urgent Care.

In Soldotna, testing is available at the Central Peninsula Hospital, Peninsula Community Health Center, Urgent Care of Soldotna, Walgreens and Soldotna Professional Pharmacy.

In Seward, testing is available at Providence Medical Center, Chugachmiut-North Star Health Clinic, Glacier Family Medicine, Seward Community Health Center and the Safeway pharmacy.

In Homer, testing is available at South Peninsula Hospital, or through other area health care providers at Seldovia Village Tribe Health and Wellness, Kachemak Medical Group and Homer Medical Center.

Reach reporter Camille Botello at camille.botello@peninsulaclarion.com.

More in News

Drummers perform during a celebration of the 10th anniversary of the Dena’ina Wellness Center in Kenai, Alaska, on Friday, July 12, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Kenaitze tribe celebrates 10 years of ‘far-fetched dream’ at wellness center

Community members recognized the work done at the Dena’ina Wellness Center over the past decade

The Kenai Safeway is seen on Wednesday, July 20, 2022. (Camille Botello/Peninsula Clarion)
Kenai and Soldotna Safeways may be sold under proposed Kroger-Albertsons merger

The local stores will be sold to CS Wholesale Grocers only if the merger overcomes suit from the FTC

Sockeye salmon caught in a set gillnet are dragged up onto the beach at a test site for selective harvest setnet gear in Kenai, Alaska, on Tuesday, July 25, 2023. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Draft plan published for disbursement of $11.5 million in 2021 and 2022 ESSN disasters

Public comment will be accepted for the draft spend plan until July 24

The Kasilof River is seen from the Kasilof River Recreation Area, July 30, 2019, in Kasilof, Alaska. (Photo by Erin Thompson/Peninsula Clarion)
King salmon fishing closed on Kasilof starting Monday

The emergency order is being issued to protect returning king salmon, citing weak returns

Soldotna City Hall is seen on Wednesday, June 23, 2021, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Soldotna’s city council appropriates funds for FY 2025 capital projects

Improvements are described for streets, police facility, Soldotna Creek Park and Soldotna Community Memorial Park

Gina Plank processes sockeye salmon caught on the first day of Kenai River dipnetting with her table set up on the bank of the Kenai River in Kenai, Alaska, on Wednesday, July 10, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Kenai River open for dipnetting

As of Tuesday, a total of 226,000 sockeye had been counted in the Kenai River’s late run

Assembly Vice President Tyson Cox speaks during a meeting of the Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly in Soldotna, Alaska, on Tuesday, June 18, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Assembly won’t pursue further discussion on tabled bed tax resolution

Members say they’re going to work on a new version of the idea this winter

Gov. Mike Dunleavy pictured with members of the House majority after signing the fiscal year 2025 budget bills, Thursday, June 27, 2024, in Anchorage, Alaska. From left to right: Reps. Stanley Wright, Tom McKay, Thomas Baker, Craig Johnson, Kevin McCabe, Julie Coulombe and Laddie Shaw. (Photo provided by Office of the Governor)
Dunleavy signs capital budget with $3.7M in state funding for Kenai Peninsula, vetoes $3.3M

Roughly $90 million in federal funding also allocated to Kenai Peninsula

Alaska State Troopers logo.
Soldotna man arrested Friday after 30-minute police chase

The man had an outstanding warrant for felony probation violation

Most Read