COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)

Alaska reports record weekly and daily highs

The state reported a record single-day total of 353 cases on Saturday.

For a third week in a row, the state broke its own weekly record for new COVID-19 cases — rounding out the week with 1,729 new cases.

Alaska’s Department of Health and Social Services also reported a record single-day total of 353 cases on Saturday.

The average positivity rates for COVID-19 tests processed this week have increased both statewide and locally. In Alaska, 5.25% of tests processed in the last seven days have come back positive, compared with a positivity rate of 4.94% last week. On the Kenai Peninsula, the positivity rate is at 8.95%, a significant increase from last week’s positivity rate of 6.63%.

Statewide 552,746 tests have been conducted since March, including 24,751 tests conducted on the Kenai Peninsula.

There were new 28 hospitalizations associated with COVID-19 reported this week and one death, for a cumulative total of 389 and 68, respectively. Currently, there are 58 COVID patients hospitalized, eight of whom require treatment on ventilators. At this time last week, there were 50 COVID patients hospitalized and another 18 patients under investigation for the disease.

The Kenai Peninsula Borough reported 100 new COVID-19 cases this week and is currently one of eight regions in the state at the highest alert level for daily case rates, averaging 10.52 cases per day per 100,000 people.

A total of 480 Alaskans reported recovering from the illness this week, for a total of 6,293 residents who have recovered since March.

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.

According to the district’s Smart Start plan, at high risk, buildings are closed to students and learning is 100% remote.

Central Peninsula — High Risk

The central peninsula, or Kenai, Nikiski, Soldotna, Sterling and “other North,” had 10 resident cases reported by the state Friday and 15 on Saturday for a total of 113 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.

Southern Peninsula — High Risk

The southern peninsula, or Homer, Fritz Creek, Anchor Point and “other South,” had one resident case reported by the state Friday and four on Saturday for a total of 27 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 10 to 19 cases in the last 14 days, and low risk when there are nine cases or fewer in the last 14 days.

Eastern Peninsula — High Risk

The eastern peninsula, or Seward, had no resident cases reported by the state Friday and one Saturday for a total of nine 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.

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.

Information in this report is based on data reported by DHSS between Oct. 17 and Oct. 24.

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