Nikiski Fire Station #2, seen here on July 15, 2019 in Nikiski, Alaska. (Photo by Brian Mazurek/Peninsula Clarion)

Nikiski Fire Station #2, seen here on July 15, 2019 in Nikiski, Alaska. (Photo by Brian Mazurek/Peninsula Clarion)

3 in Nikiski fire service test positive for virus

11 members of the department have been quarantined due to the possibility of COVID-19 exposure.

The Nikiski Fire Department is quarantining a portion of its firefighting personnel after three employees tested positive for COVID-19.

The Kenai Peninsula Borough reported in a Wednesday press release that 11 members of the department have been quarantined “due to the possibility of COVID-19 exposure.” Of those 11, three tested positive for the disease. The cases are the three Nikiski cases the state has already reported.

Every member of the department’s personnel has been tested, according to the release. Because the 11 members who are quarantined represent one of the department’s three response shifts, a “continuity of operations” plan has been enacted. Central Emergency Services and the Kenai Fire Department have agreed to assist the Nikiski Fire Department, according to the borough’s release.

“Our first priority is to ensure that all of our personnel and their families have the resources they need during this time,” said Nikiski Fire Chief Bryan Crisp in the release. “We’ll continue to follow the CDC protocols as well as the recommendations of the borough’s physician director.”

The total number of cases on the Kenai Peninsula is 60, as of Wednesday. Of those, 35 are currently active, 23 have recovered and two have died.

The total number of COVID-19 cases in Alaska broke 500 on Wednesday with the announcement of 18 new cases, bringing the total to 505. Of those, 373 people had recovered as of Wednesday, according to the state. There have been a total of 23 nonresidents who have tested positive for the disease as well, many of them seafood industry employees.

There have been a total of 47 hospitalizations, according to the state. That number includes people who have since died or since gotten better and gone home. As of Wednesday, there were 11 people actively being hospitalized for either confirmed cases of the disease or suspected cases. There have been 58,182 tests given in the state for a positivity rate of .9%.

Locally, Central Peninsula Hospital has conducted 1,200 tests as of Wednesday. Of those, 15 have come back positive, 1,146 have come back negative and 39 are still awaiting results.

South Peninsula Hospital has conducted 1,749 total COVID-19 tests as of Wednesday. Of those, 1,485 have come back negative and 235 were still pending. As of Wednesday, the hospital has had a total of 29 positive tests results so far from testing both at the hospital and out on the Homer Spit.

SVT Health & Wellness, owned and operated by Seldovia Village Tribe, also reported one new positive case through its testing at its Homer clinic location. The other clinics are located in Anchor Point and Seldovia.

The new case identified by SVT is a resident of the southern Kenai Peninsula and was tested at the Homer location earlier this week, the clinic announced in a press release.

Reporter Brian Mazurek contributed to this article.

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