COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)

33 deaths reported this week, 82 hospitalizations

There were 273 cases reported by the Kenai Peninsula Borough over the past week.

The state reported 82 new hospitalizations and 33 new deaths due to COVID-19 this week, for a total of 866 and 175 respectively. These both represent significant increases from last week, which saw 27 hospitalizations and 12 deaths in the same time frame.

The number of concurrent hospitalizations, however, has begun to trend downward for the first time since mid-November.

Alaska reported 621 new COVID-19 cases statewide on Friday and another 533 on Saturday. Altogether 4,206 new cases have been identified in the last week.

As of Saturday, there were 136 Alaska residents hospitalized with COVID-19, including 10 who were considered persons under investigation for the disease. Eighteen of the patients are on ventilators. Of all hospitalizations in Alaska on Saturday, 14.4% were COVID-related.

The number of concurrent hospitalizations statewide due to COVID-19 decreased from this time last week, when DHSS reported 164 COVID-19-related hospitalizations and 24 patients requiring ventilator treatment on Dec. 5.

As of Friday, Central Peninsula Hospital had conducted 9,816 tests with 9,132 negative, 625 positive and 54 pending results. CPH was also treating six patients who were COVID-positive on Friday, including two who were on ventilators. At the same time last week, CPH was treating 11 COVID-19 patients with only one on a ventilator. Also as of Friday, there were 11 COVID-positive patients at CPH’s Heritage Place Skilled Nursing facility and 28 of CPH’s total staff of around 1,000 were in quarantine.

Over the last week, the state conducted 31,157 tests and saw a positivity rate of 6%. To date, the state has conducted 1,133,418 tests. During the same time period, the Kenai Peninsula Borough conducted 1,420 tests for a seven-day positivity rate of 8.1%. Both the borough-wide and statewide positivity rates have decreased since last week, when the rates were 12.1% and 7.24% respectively. To date, the borough has conducted 48,448 tests.

There were 273 cases reported by the Kenai Peninsula Borough over the past week, including 48 reported on Friday and 34 on Saturday.

Schools update

Thirty four Kenai Peninsula Borough School District schools continue to operate at high risk until at least Dec. 18, including all on the central peninsula. Two other district schools were operating at medium risk. Tebughna School also shifted to high risk and 100% remote learning until winter break due to confirmation of a positive COVID-19 case in the community.

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 Friday, 546 cases had been reported in the central peninsula over the last two weeks, meaning the region will have to lose 495 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 Friday, 96 cases had been reported in the southern peninsula over the last two weeks, meaning the region will have to lose 77 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 Friday, 21 cases had been reported in the eastern peninsula over the last two weeks, meaning the region will have to lose 14 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 continue to be open for on-site learning and operate at low-risk level.

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.

Reach reporter Brian Mazurek at bmazurek@peninsulaclarion.com.

This information is based on data reported by Alaska’s Department of Health and Social Services between Dec. 6 and Dec. 12.

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