COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)

COVID cases, hospitalizations continue to grow

Thursday’s report does not reflect the 96 cases identified in Seward on Wednesday night.

The state reported 68 new cases of COVID-19 Thursday — 65 among residents and three nonresidents, according to a Thursday release from Alaska’s Department of Health and Social Services.

Thursday’s report does not reflect the 96 cases identified in Seward on Wednesday night among employees at OBI seafood processing plant. Alaska’s Chief Medical Officer Dr. Anne Zink said during a Thursday Zoom conference with other public health officials that large clusters of cases are not always reported to the state’s database all at once. The Clarion requested clarification from DHSS on when these cases would be reflected in the state’s totals but did not receive a response by press time.

Seward City Clerk Brenda Ballou told the Clarion Thursday that all of the positive OBI employees who are nonresidents were transported to Anchorage on Wednesday night for isolation. She did not know if the 11 Seward residents who tested positive as part of the outbreak remained in Seward for their isolation or also traveled to Anchorage.

Another separate outbreak aboard American Seafoods vessel The American Triumph reached Seward Wednesday night, where the vessel was docked so that 85 positive crew members could also be transported to Anchorage. Ballou said she watched as American Seafoods employees disembarked Wednesday night from the ship and got in buses. She said she was impressed with the efforts of public health officials to transport those patients with “zero impact” to the Seward community.

Of the 68 new cases reported by DHSS Thursday, only one was identified as a resident of the Kenai Peninsula — in an unspecified community on the southern peninsula. The city of Seward reported one additional positive case Thursday evening, which was not reflected in the state’s data.

The state’s report for Thursday also included two new hospitalizations, for a total of 111 since March. Currently 36 people are hospitalized who are either COVID-positive or awaiting test results, including one person who is being treated on a ventilator.

A total of 189,509 tests have been conducted statewide. The average positivity rate for tests processed in the last three days is 3.21%.

Locally, Central Peninsula Hospital has conducted 2,920 tests. Of those, 48 have come back positive, 2,805 have come back negative and 64 are pending results.

South Peninsula Hospital has conducted a total of 5,717 tests. Of those, 93 have come back positive, 5,518 have come back negative and 106 are pending results.

Peninsula testing locations

Testing continues to be available from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily at South Peninsula Hospital’s main entrance 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 the NTC Community Clinic in Ninilchik. The NTC Community Clinic is the Indian Health Service provider for the Ninilchik Tribe.

The clinic is providing testing with a rapid testing machine to those with symptoms, travelers and asymptomatic people. There are currently no restrictions on who can get tested. To make an appointment to be tested at the NTC Community Clinic, call 907-567-3970.

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.

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