COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)

7 new peninsula cases, statewide hospitalizations pass 1,000

Affected comunities include Soldotna, Other North, Kenai and Seward

The Alaska Department of Health and Social Services announced 217 new COVID-19 cases in Alaska on Tuesday, including seven on the Kenai Peninsula. Affected peninsula communities include Soldotna with three cases, Other North with two cases, Kenai with one case and Seward with one case.

The new cases bring Alaska’s statewide case total to 46,902, including 44,581 residents and 1,511 nonresidents.

As of Tuesday, Central Peninsula Hospital had conducted 10,445 tests with 9,706 negative, 682 positive and 41 pending results. CPH was treating five patients who were COVID-positive, none of whom were on ventilators. Additionally, there were no positive cases at CPH’s Heritage Place Skilled Nursing facility. Nine of the hospital’s total staff of around 1,000 were in quarantine. CPH also reported one new COVID-19 death on Tuesday.

Over the past week, the Kenai Peninsula Borough has conducted 840 tests and saw a positivity rate of 4.64%. To date, the borough has conducted 53,296 tests. The current statewide alert level, based on the average daily case rate for the last two weeks, is high. The Kenai Peninsula Borough’s alert level is also high at 39.28.

The state also reported 10 new hospitalizations and one new death. To date, 1,004 people in Alaska have been hospitalized due to COVID-19 and 201 have died. Currently, there are 83 people hospitalized in Alaska who are COVID-positive or who are considered persons under investigation for the disease. Ten of the patients are on ventilators.

Alaska’s daily positivity rate for the past seven days, during which 22,059 tests were conducted, is 4.56%. To date, 1,259,845 tests have been conducted in Alaska.

In addition to the seven new cases on the peninsula, the state also reported 64 cases in Anchorage, 33 in Eagle River, 28 in Wasilla, 23 in Fairbanks, 13 in Palmer, eight in Kodiak, six in North Pole, four in Dillingham Census Area, three in Bethel, three in Ketchikan, three in Other Copper River, two in Bethel Census Area, two in Chugiak, two in Delta Junction and one each in Big Lake, Craig, Dillingham, Nome Census Area, North Slope Borough, Northwest Arctic Borough, Sitka, Tok and Utqiagvik.

Seven nonresident cases were also reported. Four were reported in Anchorage and three have locations still under investigation.

School risk levels

Winter break began for most KPBSD schools on Dec. 18. School will resume on Jan. 4. Currently schools in the eastern, central and southern areas of the peninsula are operating at high-risk level.

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 Tuesday, 250 cases had been reported in the central peninsula over the last two weeks, meaning the region will have to lose 199 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 Tuesday, 53 cases had been reported in the southern peninsula over the last two weeks, meaning the region will have to lose 34 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 Tuesday, 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 were open for on-site learning and operating at low-risk level at the conclusion of the academic quarter, Dec. 18.

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.

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