COVID-19. (Image via CDC)

COVID-19. (Image via CDC)

258 new COVID cases, 33 locally

22.5% of all hospitalizations in the Gulf Coast — which includes the Kenai Peninsula — were COVID-related as of Tuesday.

The state announced 258 new COVID-19 resident cases on Tuesday, along with 13 new hospitalizations and one new death.

The man who died was a Tok resident in his 70s.

The new case count includes 33 on the peninsula, with one more nonresident case in Soldotna under investigation.

The Kenai Peninsula Borough is still in the high transmission risk category, with a total of 558.30 new cases per 100,000 people in the past week. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is recommending that everyone, despite vaccination status, wear masks indoors when in areas with a high risk of transmission.

State data also shows that 22.5% of all hospitalizations in the Gulf Coast — which includes the Kenai Peninsula — were COVID-related as of Tuesday, compared to the statewide average of 12.3%. Only three adult beds remained unoccupied in the region as of Tuesday.

Slightly over half — 52.9% — of eligible Alaskans 12 and older were fully vaccinated against COVID-19 on Tuesday. For those 65 and older, that number reached about 72%.

The peninsula is one of the census regions with the lowest total number of vaccinated people. As of Tuesday 44.9% of those ages 12 and older were fully vaccinated and 64.5% of those 65 and up had received their full doses.

The Kenai Peninsula is second to last for vaccine rollout, only above the Matanuska-Susitna Borough’s 37.1% inoculation rate.

Getting a COVID 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.

COVID 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.

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