COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)

DHSS: 366 new cases, 2 deaths reported

22 cases were reported on the Kenai Peninsula

The Alaska Department of Health and Social Services announced 366 new COVID-19 cases in Alaska on Thursday, including 22 on the Kenai Peninsula. Affected peninsula communities include Soldotna with nine cases, Kenai with five cases, Homer with two cases, Other North with two cases, Anchor Point with one case, Nikiski with one case, Other South with one case and Seward with one case.

The new cases bring Alaska’s statewide case total to 42,856, including 41,418 residents and 1,438 nonresidents.

Over the past week, the Kenai Peninsula Borough has conducted 1,457 tests and saw a positivity rate of 6.05%. To date, the borough has conducted 50,051 tests. The current statewide alert level, based on the average daily case rate for the last two weeks, is high at 78.07. The Kenai Peninsula Borough’s alert level is also high at 67.8.

The state also reported no new hospitalizations and two new deaths. To date, 903 Alaska residents have been hospitalized due to COVID-19 and 182 people have died. Currently, there are 140 people hospitalized in Alaska who are COVID-19 positive or who are considered persons under investigation for the disease. Fourteen of the patients are on ventilators.

The two new deaths include an Anchorage woman in her 70s and an Anchorage man in his 60s.

Alaska’s daily positivity rate for the past seven days, during which 28,873 tests were conducted, is 7.48%. To date, 1,175,723 tests have been conducted in Alaska.

In addition to the 22 new cases on the peninsula, the state also reported 152 cases in Anchorage, 54 in Wasilla, 24 in Fairbanks, 22 in Bethel, 18 in Eagle River, 14 in Utqiagvik, eight in Kodiak, eight in North Pole, eight in Palmer, seven in Chugiak, seven in Kusilvak Census Area, two in Kodiak Island Borough, two in Nome, two in Northwest Arctic Borough, two in Sitka, two in Yakutat plus Hoonah-Angoon Boroughs and one each in Bristol Bay plus Lake and Peninsula Boroughs, Ketchikan, Prince of Wales-Hyder Census Area, Sutton-Alpine, Unalaska and Yukon-Koyukuk Census Area.

Six new nonresident cases were also reported. Three have locations under investigation. Two were reported in Wasilla and one was reported in Unalaska.

Risk levels

As of Thursday, 35 Kenai Peninsula Borough School District schools were operating at high risk until at least Dec. 18, including all on the central peninsula. Two other district schools were operating at medium risk. Tebughna School also shifted to high risk and 100% remote learning until winter break last week due to confirmation of a positive COVID-19 case in the community.

The central peninsula is considered high risk when 52 or more cases have been reported in the region in the last 14 days. As of Thursday, 451 cases had been reported in the central peninsula over the last two weeks, meaning the region will have to lose 400 cases in order to drop back into medium-risk level.

The southern peninsula is considered high risk when 20 or more cases have been reported in the region in the last 14 days. As of Thursday, 87 cases had been reported in the southern peninsula over the last two weeks, meaning the region will have to lose 68 cases to drop back into medium-risk level.

The eastern peninsula is considered high risk when eight or more cases have been reported in the region in the last 14 days. As of Thursday, 19 cases had been reported in the eastern peninsula over the last two weeks, meaning the region will have to lose 12 cases to drop back into medium risk.

Cooper Landing School and Hope School were preventatively shifted to medium-risk level on Dec. 4 by the district in response to growing COVID-19 cases on the peninsula.

Susan B. English School, Nanwalek School and Port Graham School continue to be open for on-site learning and operate at low risk level.

During 100% remote learning, Get-It and Go meals are free for all students and can be picked up daily at school. Operational risk levels, case incidence rates and case numbers by community are updated daily on the district’s risk levels dashboard at covid19.kpbsd.org/dashboard.

Testing locations on the Kenai Peninsula

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 is available from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily at the lower level of South Peninsula Hospital’s Specialty Clinic 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 Monday, 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 Ashlyn O’Hara at ashlyn.ohara@peninsulaclarion.com.

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