COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)

DHSS: 531 new cases, 8 new deaths

Affected communities include Kenai, Soldotna, Other North, Sterling, Nikiski, Other South, Homer and Seward

The Alaska Department of Health and Social Services reported 531 new COVID-19 cases in Alaska on Tuesday, including 62 on the Kenai Peninsula. Affected peninsula communities include Kenai with 25 cases, Soldotna with 23 cases, “other North” with five cases, Sterling with three cases, Nikiski with two cases, “other South” with two cases, Homer with one case and Seward with one case.

This is the 18th day in a row that the state has reported a daily case increase of more than 300.

Over the past week, the Kenai Peninsula Borough has conducted 1,036 tests and saw a positivity rate of 7.82%.

The new cases bring Alaska’s statewide case total to 20,832, including 19,712 residents and 1,120 nonresidents. According to DHSS Coronavirus Response Hub, there are currently 13,579 active cases of COVID-19 in the state and 911 active cases in the Kenai Peninsula Borough.

The statewide alert level, based on the average daily case rate for the last two weeks, is high at 57.62. The Kenai Peninsula Borough’s alert level is also high at 61.56.

High risk is defined as more than 10 cases per 100,000 people, intermediate risk is five to 10 cases per 100,000 people and low risk is fewer than five cases per 100,000 people.

The state also reported 13 new hospitalizations and eight new deaths. To date, 495 Alaska residents have been hospitalized due to COVID-19, including 27 on the peninsula. Ninety two Alaskans have died, including five on the peninsula.

New deaths include a Wasilla woman in her 90s, an Anchorage man in his 70s, an Anchorage man in his 80s, an Anchorage woman in her 60s and an Anchorage man in his 60s. Deaths reported following death certificate review include a Wasilla woman in her 90s, an Anchorage woman in her 40s and a Kenai man in his 60s.

Locally, South Peninsula Hospital has conducted 11,850 tests with 11,508 negative, 175 positive and 167 pending results. Central Peninsula Hospital currently has four patients who are COVID-19 positive and has one ventilator in use. CPH has conducted 8,038 tests with 7,566 negative, 322 positive and 150 pending results.

Currently, there are 127 people hospitalized in Alaska who are COVID-19 positive or who are considered persons under investigation. Ten of the patients are on ventilators.

Alaska’s daily positivity rate for the past seven days, during which 24,840 tests were conducted, is 7.81%. To date, 828,140 tests have been conducted in Alaska. Statewide 6,512 Alaska residents have recovered from COVID-19, including 431 on the Kenai Peninsula.

In addition to the 62 cases reported on the peninsula Tuesday, the state also reported 229 in Anchorage, 52 in Bethel Census Area, 40 in Wasilla, 31 in Fairbanks, 15 in Bethel, 11 in Palmer, 11 in Utqiagvik, 10 in Eagle River, nine in North Pole, seven in Ketchikan, five in Kotzebue, five in Kusilvak Census Area, four in Juneau, four in North Slope Borough, four in Valdez-Cordova Census Area, three in Chugiak, three in Healy, two in Chevak, two in Hooper Bay, two in Ketchikan Gateway Borough, two in Kodiak, two in Southeast Fairbanks Census Area, two in Yukon-Koyukuk Census Area and one each in Dillingham, Dillingham Census Area, Mat-Su Borough, Nome Census Area, Valdez, Willow and Yakutat plus Hoonah-Angoon.

Seven new nonresident cases were also reported. Two were reported in Northwest Arctic Borough, two were reported in Prudhoe Bay, two have locations still under investigation and one was reported in Anchorage.

The state also announced that two more residents and two more staff have tested positive at the Fairbanks Pioneer Home, bringing the total number of cases reported at the home since Sept. 21 to 70. No new deaths or hospitalizations were reported leaving the total number of deaths at three.

“Where they are able, staff are organizing modified activities for residents to participate in safely to reduce loneliness and boredom,” the state release said.

Additionally, the state announced a new COVID-19 outbreak at the Anchorage Pioneer Home, which was identified on Nov. 3. Since Nov. 3, 14 people have tested positive for COVID-19, including 10 residents and four staff. So far, no deaths or hospitalizations have been associated with the outbreak at Anchorage Pioneer Home.

At both the Fairbanks and Anchorage Pioneer Homes, resident and staff testing is conducted every three to four days and will continue until no additional cases are identified.

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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