COVID-19. (Image via CDC)

COVID-19. (Image via CDC)

COVID cases continue downward trend

The peninsula reported 10 new cases Tuesday

The Alaska Department of Health and Social Services announced 206 new COVID-19 cases in Alaska on Tuesday, including 10 on the Kenai Peninsula. Affected peninsula communities include Kenai with three cases, Seward with two cases, Soldotna with two cases, Homer with one case, Nikiski with one case and Sterling with one case.

The new cases bring Alaska’s statewide case total to 48,560, including 47,006 residents and 1,554 nonresidents.

As of Tuesday, Central Peninsula Hospital had conducted 10,663 tests with 9,895 negative, 708 positive and 43 pending results. CPH was treating four patients who were COVID-positive on Tuesday, with no patients on ventilators. CPH also reported no new positive cases at Heritage Place Skilled Nursing facility.

According to CPH External Affairs Director Bruce Richards, another COVID-19 vaccine clinic for employees was scheduled for Tuesday. Richards also said CPH was placing an order for another shipment of doses from the state on Tuesday. Like with their last shipment, CPH will receive a full tray of 975 doses, not all of which are for the hospital. Because CPH has a freezer capable of storing Pfizer and BioNTech’s vaccine — which must be kept at ultra cool temperatures — the hospital acts as a mini depot and hold doses for other area providers, such as Soldotna Professional Pharmacy.

CPH received their first shipment of vaccines on Dec. 16. Of the 975 Pfizer and BioNTech doses they received, CPH kept 540. Richards said Tuesday that CPH decided to hold some of those for second doses because they did not know if they would receive their next allotment in time to administer second doses.

Both Pfizer and BioNTech and Moderna’s vaccines, which have efficacy rates of more than 90%, require two doses to be fully effective. Pfizer’s doses must be administered 21 days apart, while Moderna’s doses must be administered 28 days apart.

With the next shipment, CPH will be able to finish off administration of second doses as well as administer initial doses to more employees.

To date, the State of Alaska has received 114,800 initial doses of COVID-19 vaccine for the months of December 2020 and January 2021, including 62,400 doses from Pfizer and 52,400 doses from Moderna. As of Jan. 5, 18,266 initial doses of vaccines from both companies had been administered in Alaska.

Over the past week, the Kenai Peninsula Borough has conducted 775 tests and saw a positivity rate of 5.16%. To date, the borough has conducted 54,887 tests. The current statewide alert level, based on the average daily case rate for the past two weeks, is high. The Kenai Peninsula Borough’s alert level is also high at 20.68.

The state also reported 23 new hospitalizations and no new deaths. To date, 1,056 people in Alaska have been hospitalized due to COVID-19 and 218 people have died. Currently, there are 93 people hospitalized in Alaska who are COVID-19 positive or who are considered persons under investigation for the disease. Six of the patients are on ventilators.

Alaska’s daily positivity rate for the past seven days, during which 24,949 tests were conducted, is 5.16%, To date, 1,302,859 tests have been conducted in Alaska.

In addition to the 10 new cases on the peninsula, the state also reported 57 cases in Anchorage, 32 in Fairbanks, 27 in Wasilla, 14 in Bethel, 13 in Bethel Census Area, 10 in North Pole, eight in Palmer, five in North Slope Borough, three in Chugiak, three in Girdwood, three in Ketchikan, three in Kodiak, two in Hooper Bay, two in Kotzebue, two in Sitka, two in Unalaska and one each in Juneau, Kusilvak Census Area, Northwest Arctic Borough, Petersburg, Tok, Utqiagvik and Yakutat plus Hoonah-Angoon.

Three nonresident cases were also reported, all with locations under investigation.

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

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