COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)

441 COVID cases, 3 deaths reported Wednesday

Peninsula reported 10 cases

The Alaska Department of Health and Social Services announced 441 COVID-19 cases and three new deaths Wednesday.

One of the three deaths was a Kenai woman in her 70s.

COVID cases and hospitalizations have been trending downward statewide, but Alaska remained at a high COVID transmission alert level Wednesday — with an estimated rolling average of 224.2 cases per 100,000 people over the past seven days.

That’s down from last Wednesday’s seven-day average of 253.3 cases per 100,000.

The new case count included four in Homer, two in both the Kenai Peninsula Borough North and Soldotna, and one each in Sterling and Kenai.

Statewide there were 79 COVID-related hospitalizations as of Wednesday, with eight of those patients on ventilators.

Health officials widely agree that vaccination is the best way to prevent serious illness, hospitalization and death from COVID.

As of Wednesday, 56% of Alaskans 5 and older were fully vaccinated, and another 62% had received at least one dose. The Kenai Peninsula Borough is further behind in its vaccination efforts, with 47% of people 5 and older fully vaccinated and 51% with at least one shot as of Wednesday.

Pfizer is approved for everyone 5 years and older, while the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson/Janssen vaccines are approved for anyone 18 and older.

Pfizer and Moderna boosters are also recommended for anyone 18 and older and six months out from their second dose. The J&J vaccine booster is recommended two months after the primary dose.

Getting a COVID vaccine

COVID-19 vaccines do not cost money.

Many organizations on the central peninsula, including Walmart, Walgreens, the Kenai Fire Department and Kenai Public Health, offer vaccines. They are also available for both residents and visitors at airports in Anchorage, Juneau and Fairbanks.

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. The clinic has extended its hours to Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 4 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 and Capstone Clinic.

In Soldotna, testing is available at the 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. The Seward Community Health Center at 417 First Avenue is offering drive-thru testing Tuesdays only, starting Nov. 16. Bring a face covering and photo ID.

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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