COVID-19 (Image via CDC)

COVID-19 (Image via CDC)

Alaska leads nation in vaccine rollout

13,052 doses have been administered in the Kenai Peninsula Borough, including 8,865 initial doses and 4,187 second doses.

The Alaska Department of Health and Social Services announced 476 new cases and six deaths from COVID-19 over the last four days, including 49 nonresidents. Affected peninsula communities include Seward with two cases, Kenai with one case, Other South with one case and Soldotna with one case.

Among nonresidents, the state reported 34 cases in Unalaska, five in North Slope Borough, two in Aleutians East Borough, one in Anchorage, one in Juneau and one in Kodiak. Two have locations still under investigation.

As of Tuesday, the Kenai Peninsula Borough had the second-lowest 14-day case rate in the state at 6.12 cases per 100,000 population.

The six deaths reported by the state were from death certificate reviews over the past several months. They include an Utqiagvik woman, a Bethel man, an Anchorage woman, a Palmer man and a Wasilla man, all of whom were 80 or older. The sixth death was reported among a Wasilla woman in her 60s.

As of Tuesday, there were 43 people hospitalized in Alaska due to COVID-19, including 15 who were considered persons under investigation for the disease. Two of the patients were on ventilators. To date, 1,199 Alaska residents have been hospitalized due to COVID-19 and 285 have died.

The state’s seven-day positivity rate for the past week, during which 27,391 COVID-19 tests were conducted, is 2.12%. That’s compared to the Kenai Peninsula Borough’s rate of 1.13%. To date, the borough has conducted 64,618 tests, while the state has conducted 1,605,827 tests.

Vaccination rollout also continues across the state.

For the months of December, January and February, Alaska received an allocation of 174,400 pairs of vaccine, or 348,800 total doses including first and second doses. As of Tuesday, 193,614 doses had already been administered, including 128,304 initial doses and 65,310 second doses, though those numbers are expected to be higher due to a lag in reporting. According to the state’s COVID-19 vaccination dashboard, 13,052 doses had been administered in the Kenai Peninsula Borough, including 8,865 initial doses and 4,187 second doses.

Alaska currently leads the nation in the percentage of the population that has received at least one dose. 17.3% of Alaska’s population has received at least one dose, according to NPR’s COVID-19 vaccine tracker. That is compared to the nationwide percentage of 11.5%.

The City of Kenai is offering transportation to and from vaccine clinics located in Kenai in partnership with CARTS and Alaska Cab. The city council approved $5,000 for the program at their Jan. 20 meeting. Rides will be offered on a first-come, first-served basis until the budgeted funds run out. In order to participate in the program, people must be going from an address located in Kenai to a clinic in Kenai and will need to provide proof of vaccination.

Instructions on how to schedule an appointment and a map of vaccine providers in the state can be found at covidvax.alaska.gov.

COVID-19 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. Testing is also available at Homer Public Health Center daily from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

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.

Reach reporter Ashlyn O’Hara at ashlyn.ohara@peninsulaclarion.com.

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