COVID-19. (Image via CDC)

COVID-19. (Image via CDC)

850 new cases, 6 deaths

COVID week in review

Alaska’s Department of Health and Social Services reported 132 new COVID-19 cases on Friday and another 133 cases on Saturday, for a total of 872 cases reported this week.

Of those, 850 cases were among residents, while only 22 nonresident cases were identified this week. The communities with the highest rate of new cases this week were Anchorage, Fairbanks and the Northwest Region, which includes the North Slope Borough, Nome and the Northwest Arctic Borough.

DHSS also reported this week 20 additional hospitalizations and six more deaths due to COVID-19. The most recent death reported was a Juneau woman in her 60s, whom the state identified on Saturday.

There have been a total of 300 hospitalizations and 58 deaths in the state associated with COVID-19 since March. Currently, there are 28 confirmed COVID patients hospitalized and another 11 patients who are suspected of having the disease. Five of those patients are being treated on a ventilator.

The number of Alaskans who have recovered from the illness is 4,626 as of Saturday, which includes 1,661 recoveries reported this week.

This information was compiled from data reported by DHSS between Sept. 26 and Oct. 3.

Risk levels

Risk levels are one of the major tools the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District uses to determine the status of schools.

KPBSD also uses input from seven-day averages of positive cases, the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services, the Alaska Department of Education and Early Learning, and the COVID-19 Community Risk Level Medical Advisory Group.

DHSS created risk levels as part of a plan to reopen long-term care facilities to visitors, but DHSS says risk levels also can be used to inform decisions by other entities, including schools, institutions of higher learning and businesses.

The Alaska School Activities Association also is using risk levels to make determinations on practices and games for activities and sports.

Central Peninsula — Low Risk

The central peninsula, or Kenai, Nikiski, Soldotna, Sterling and “other North,” had six resident cases reported by the state Friday and one Saturday for a total of 21 cases in the last 14 days.

The central peninsula is high risk when there are 52 or more cases in the last 14 days, medium risk when there are 51 to 26 cases in the last 14 days, and low risk when there are 25 or fewer cases in the last 14 days.

According to the district’s Smart Start plan, at low risk, “Buildings are open and learning is conducted with additional protocols for health, safety, and continuity. Parents may select for students to learn remotely.”

For sports, ASAA allows practices and competitions to take place at low-risk level, but fewer restrictions are in place than at medium-risk level.

Southern Peninsula — Low Risk

The southern peninsula, or Homer, Fritz Creek, Anchor Point and “other South,” had no resident cases reported by the state Friday or Saturday for a total of four cases in the last 14 days.

The southern peninsula is at high risk when there are 20 or more cases in the last 14 days, medium risk when there are 19 to 10 cases in the last 14 days, and low risk when there are nine cases or fewer in the last 14 days.

According to the district’s Smart Start plan, at low risk, “Buildings are open and learning is conducted with additional protocols for health, safety, and continuity. Parents may select for students to learn remotely.”

For sports, ASAA allows practices and competitions to take place at low-risk level, but fewer restrictions are in place than at medium-risk level.

Eastern Peninsula — Medium Risk

The eastern peninsula, or Seward, had no resident cases reported by the state Friday or Saturday for a total of four cases in the last 14 days.

The eastern peninsula is at high risk when there are eight or more cases in the last 14 days, medium risk when there are four to seven cases in the last 14 days, and low risk when there are three or fewer cases in the last 14 days.

According to the district’s Smart Start plan, at medium risk, “Buildings are open with possible social (physical) distancing protocols in place. Parents may select for students to learn remotely.”

For sports, ASAA allows practices and competitions to take place at low-risk level, but fewer restrictions are in place than at medium-risk level.

Reach reporter Brian Mazurek at bmazurek@peninsulaclarion.com.

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