COVID-19. (CDC)

COVID-19. (CDC)

COVID week in review: 2 deaths, more hospitalizations

Currently 36 COVID-positive patients are hospitalized; four require treatment on a ventilator

This week, Alaska saw another 535 new cases, 21 hospitalizations and two deaths associated with COVID-19, according to the latest data available from the Department of Health and Social Services.

This represents a slight increase in cases and hospitalizations from last week. Alaska’s Chief Medical Officer Dr. Anne Zink noted during Tuesday’s press conference that people of almost all ages are being hospitalized after testing positive for the disease.

The number of concurrent hospitalizations reached an all-time high this week. Currently 36 COVID-positive patients are hospitalized, four of whom require treatment on a ventilator.

Gov. Mike Dunleavy has noted that hospitalizations and health care capacity are considered important metrics by the state when determining statewide policy actions related to COVID-19 response, such as the mask mandates or occupancy limits that have already been implemented in Anchorage, Seward and other municipalities.

The latest COVID-related death of an Alaskan was a man from Anchorage who was in his 80s, according to a Saturday press release from DHSS.

Two distinct outbreaks were identified this week: One among mine workers in Juneau and another aboard an Alaska Marine Highway vessel traveling form Kake to Juneau. Public health officials are conducting contact tracing for both of these outbreaks to identify any more related cases.

The total number of COVID-19 cases in Alaska is currently the fifth-lowest among states. Alaska has experienced the fewest deaths of any state, according to reporting from the New York Times.

A total of 18,758 new COVID-19 tests were conducted this week, which represents almost a 50% decrease from previous weeks. On the Kenai Peninsula, a total of 13,854 tests have been conducted since the beginning of the pandemic.

This includes at least 7,073 tests at South Peninsula Hospital and 3,860 tests at Central Peninsula Hospital as of Friday, according to public information officers Derotha Ferraro and Bruce Richards. The Kenai Peninsula’s ratio of tests per person is one of the lowest among regions in the state at .24 tests per person, and is lower than the statewide average of .4 tests per person. The average positivity of tests conducted on the Kenai Peninsula in the last seven days is 3.82%.

Testing locations

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 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.

In Ninilchik, NTC Community Clinic is providing testing on Mondays, 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.

Reach reporter Brian Mazurek at bmazurek@peninsulaclarion.com.

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