This illustration provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in January 2020 shows the 2019 Novel Coronavirus. (CDC)

This illustration provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in January 2020 shows the 2019 Novel Coronavirus. (CDC)

4 new deaths, more than 600 new cases statewide

83 resident cases and four nonresident cases were reported on the peninsula.

The state announced four recent COVID-19 fatalities on Wednesday, pushing the total resident death toll to 404 since the pandemic began.

They were three Anchorage men — one in his 50s, one in his 60s and one in his 70s — and a Palmer man in his 60s.

There were also another 647 new positive resident cases statewide reported Wednesday, which includes 83 resident cases on the peninsula and four nonresident cases — two in Soldotna and two in Homer.

According to the Department of Health and Social Services sequencing report, as of Wednesday there have been a total of 876 delta variant cases reported throughout the state, increasing by 299 since the last notice. State officials say delta accounts for almost all newly detected cases.

The Kenai Peninsula Borough is still in the high transmission risk category for spreading COVID-19. 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 28.2% of all hospitalizations in the Gulf Coast — which includes the Kenai Peninsula — were COVID-related as of Wednesday, compared to the statewide average of 13.7%. Only four adult beds remained unoccupied in the region as of Tuesday.

Slightly over half — 53.5% — of eligible Alaskans 12 and older were fully vaccinated against COVID-19 on Wednesday. For those 65 and older, that number reached about 72.3%.

President Joe Biden announced Wednesday that his administration plans to roll out booster shots as early as Sept. 20 for people who received their full series eight months ago, pending final Centers for Disease Control and Prevention approval. This may change the ways vaccine data is calculated.

The peninsula is one of the state’s census regions with the lowest percentage of vaccinated people. As of Wednesday 45.5% of those ages 12 and older were fully vaccinated and 64.9% 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 37.6% inoculation rate.

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.

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