This 2020 electron microscope made available by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention image shows the spherical coronavirus particles from the first U.S. case of COVID-19. (C.S. Goldsmith, A. Tamin/CDC via AP)

This 2020 electron microscope made available by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention image shows the spherical coronavirus particles from the first U.S. case of COVID-19. (C.S. Goldsmith, A. Tamin/CDC via AP)

COVID-19 cases rise on peninsula, elsewhere

The 20 new cases bring Alaska’s total number of COVID-19 cases among residents to 696

The state announced 25 new COVID-19 cases Wednesday — 20 among Alaska residents and five nonresidents.

The 20 new cases bring Alaska’s total number of COVID-19 cases among residents to 696. There are 82 cumulative cases of nonresidents with the illness in Alaska, with the majority of them being seafood industry workers.

The new cases announced Wednesday represent cases that were reported to the state on Tuesday. According to data on the state’s coronavirus response hub website, six of the new cases reported Wednesday are in the Fairbanks North Star Borough, four are in the Municipality of Anchorage, two are on the Kenai Peninsula, two are in the Matanuska-Sustina Borough, and one case each is in the Wrangell City and Borough, North Slope Borough, Sitka City and Borough, Kodiak Island Borough, Juneau City and Borough and Ketchikan Gateway Borough.

Out of Alaska’s 696 total cases, 246 of those cases are active and 438 people have recovered so far, according to data on the coronavirus response hub.

So far, there have been 12 deaths of Alaska residents associated with COVID-19, and 55 total cumulative hospitalizations of people with confirmed cases. That number includes people who have since died or have since recovered and gone home. As of Wednesday, there were 23 people actively being hospitalized, either with confirmed cases of COVID-19 or suspected cases.

Homer is up to 34 total cases of COVID-19, the most of any city on the Kenai Peninsula. Twenty-one of those cases are active, while 13 people have recovered. The peninsula has a cumulative total of 115 cases, the second-highest number after the Municipality of Anchorage. The Fairbanks North Star Borough has the third most cases with 102.

On the peninsula, the majority of people (57) have recovered, while 56 cases are still active.

The COVID-19 case breakdown on the peninsula is as follows: 34 in Homer, 27 on the southern Kenai Peninsula in communities with fewer than 1,000 people, 16 in Soldotna, 14 in Kenai, eight in Anchor Point, five in Nikiski, four in Seward, three each in Sterling and Fritz Creek, and one on the northern peninsula in a community of fewer than 1,000 people.

The state uses the boundaries of the South Kenai Peninsula Hospital Service Area to separate the north peninsula from the south. A map of the service area boundaries can be viewed on the Kenai Peninsula Borough website at kpb.us/rds-service-area/about-rds/261-borough/gis/printable-maps/661-hospital-service-areas. Seldovia is not in the hospital service area, but is included as an “other” community of the South Kenai Peninsula in DHSS reporting.

The Alaska Department of Health and Social Services began separating cases in the “other” category used for people in small communities of fewer than 1,000 people after requests from the City of Homer, the Homer News and area residents to make the category more specific.

Statewide, more than 77,700 COVID-19 tests have been performed since the arrival of the virus, according to the state data hub. Locally, South Peninsula Hospital had conducted 3,138 total tests as of Tuesday, according to information from hospital Public Information Officer Derotha Ferraro. Of those, 2,921 tests have come back negative so far, while 157 are still pending. SPH has had a total of 60 positive tests so far. Central Peninsula Hospital has conducted 1,654 tests, with 1,576 of those coming back negative and 60 pending results, according to Public Information Officer Bruce Richards. CPH has had a total of 17 positive tests.

SVT Health & Wellness, the group of clinics owned and operated by Seldovia Village Tribe, has performed 490 tests so far, with 478 of those coming back negative, according to the clinic website on Wednesday. One test result is still pending and SVT Health & Wellness has identified 11 positive cases so far.

Reach Megan Pacer at mpacer@homernews.com.

Reporter Brian Mazurek contributed to this article.

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