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COVID-19 cases remain high in area

Every region of Alaska was considered to be at “intermediate” or “high” COVID-19 risk level, based on its respective average daily cases for the last two weeks. The Kenai Peninsula Borough’s central, eastern and southern regions were all also at high risk level Friday.

High risk is defined as more than 10 cases per 100,000 population, intermediate risk is five to 10 cases per 100,000 population and low risk is less than five cases per 100,000 population.

The Alaska Department of Health and Social Services announced 447 new cases Friday, including 198 reported on July 21 and 249 reported on July 22. The cases include 41 reported on the Kenai Peninsula, including 15 in Soldotna, 10 in Kenai, 10 in Seward, four in Kenai Peninsula Borough South and one each in Kenai Peninsula Borough North and Sterling.

Seward City Clerk Brenda Ballou announced 17 new cases in Seward on Friday independently of the state’s update.

“Please get vaccinated,” she wrote.

The cases come amid stagnant COVID-19 vaccination rates on the Kenai Peninsula: the borough currently ranks 10th out of 11 Alaska regions in the percentage of Alaskans 12 and older who are fully vaccinated at 44%. That’s compared to the Juneau region at 74% and the Matanuska-Susitna Borough Region at 36%.

The state also announced two recent COVID-19 deaths Friday, including a Petersburg man in his 70s and an Anchorage man in his 60s, bringing the total number of deaths reported among Alaska residents to 377. There were 80 people hospitalized due to COVID-19 in Alaska on Friday, including one who was considered a person under investigation.

More information on COVID-19 in Alaska can be found on DHSS website at covid19.alaska.gov. COVID-19 vaccination appointments can be scheduled at myhealth.alaska.gov.

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

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