COVID-19. (Image via CDC)

COVID-19. (Image via CDC)

4 new peninsula COVID cases

130 new COVID-19 cases were reported in Alaska on Tuesday

The Alaska Department of Health and Social Services announced 130 new COVID-19 cases in Alaska on Tuesday, including four on the Kenai Peninsula. Affected peninsula communities include Homer with one case, Kenai with one case, Soldotna with one case and Sterling with one case.

The new cases bring Alaska’s statewide case total to 52,222, including 50,572 residents and 1,650 nonresidents.

Over the past week, the Kenai Peninsula Borough has conducted 1,018 tests and saw a positivity rate of 2.55%. To date, the borough has conducted 58,664 tests.

As of Tuesday, Central Peninsula Hospital had conducted 11,163 tests with 10,377 negative, 725 positive and 45 pending results. On Tuesday, CPH was treating three patients who were COVID-19 positive with none on ventilators and no new resident cases at Heritage Plack Skilled Nursing facility.

Of the 114,800 doses of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines the State of Alaska received for the months of December and January, 56,869 initial doses have been administered and 12,178 vaccinations series have been completed. Meaning, 12,178 people have received both doses of their COVID vaccine.

The current statewide alert level, based on the average daily case rate for the past two weeks, is high. The Kenai Peninsula Borough’s rate is also high at 18.6.

The state also reported nine new hospitalizations and one new death. DHSS began including “probable deaths” in the death and case counts on Jan. 4. To date, 1,139 Alaska residents have been hospitalized due to COVID-19 and 229 have died. As of Tuesday, 61 people were hospitalized in Alaska who were COVID-positive or who were considered persons under investigation for the disease. Nine of the patients were on ventilators.

Alaska’s daily positivity rate for the past seven days, during which 29,641 tests were conducted, is 3.57%. To date, 1,414,531 COVID-19 cases have been conducted in Alaska.

In addition to the four new cases on the Kenai Peninsula, the state also reported 29 new cases in Anchorage, 21 in Wasilla, 14 in Bethel Census Area, 14 in Kusilvak Census Area, 12 in Bethel, five in Kodiak, five in Northwest Arctic Borough, three in Fairbanks, three in Palmer, three in Willow, two in Knik-Fairview, two in North Pole, two in Unalaska, two in Yukon-Koyukuk Census Area and one each in Big Lake, Chugiak, Sitka and Utqiagvik.

Five nonresident cases were also reported. Two were reported in Anchorage. One was reported in Fairbanks. One was reported in Nome and one has a location still under investigation.

Who can receive the COVID-19 vaccine right now?

In determining who is able to get the COVID vaccine and when, the state considers recommendations from the CDC Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices. Vaccine allocation is divided into three phases.

Those phases are divided into sub-phases. Those sub-phases are then divided further into tiers. Front-line health care workers, along with residents and staff of long-term care facilities were given first priority in Phase 1a, Tier 1.

Phase 1a, Tier 2 includes front-line EMS and Fire Service personnel frequently exposed to COVID-19 patients, community health aides/practitioners and health care workers providing vaccinations. Vaccinations for people in Phase 1a, Tiers 1 and 2 began on Dec. 15.

Phase 1a, Tier 3 includes workers in health care settings who are at highest risk of contracting COVID-19 and who are essential to the health care infrastructure who meet specific criteria outlined by the state. Vaccinations for people in Phase 1a, Tier 3 began on Jan. 4.

Appointments for people in Phase 1b Tier 1, meaning Alaskans who are 65 and older, began on Jan. 11.

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.

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