COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)

DHSS reports 1 new COVID death on Wednesday

A Palmer man in his 60s died.

The Alaska State Department of Health and Social Services announced one new COVID death on Wednesday, a Palmer man in his 60s.

The department also reported three new hospitalizations for a total of 27 in Alaska, with two of the patients on ventilators.

The state saw 97 new COVID-19 cases on Wednesday. Although cases have been decreasing, Alaska remains at the high-alert level with about 10.08 positive cases per 100,000 people.

The new case count includes three on the Kenai Peninsula. Anchor Point, Homer and Sterling each reported one. The Kenai Peninsula Borough remains in the intermediate risk division, which is categorized by having between 4.8 and 10 positive COVID cases per 100,000 people. The borough reported an average of 7.15 cases on Wednesday.

The Southwest region has the lowest risk of all 11 census regions, with only 2.94 cases per 100,000 people.

Alaska also saw 22 new cases in Anchorage, 12 in Ketchikan, nine each in Fairbanks and Wasilla, eight in the Chugach Census Area, six in Palmer, four in Hooper Bay, three in Eagle River, two each in the Aleutians East Borough, the Bethel Census Area, Craig, Ester, the Ketchikan Gateway Borough, Metlakatla and North Pole, and one each in Chugiak, Delta Junction, Juneau, Petersburg and Tok.

Vaccination rates

Around half of Alaskans 16 and older — 53.1% — had received at least one vaccine dose as of Wednesday, and 47.4% were fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

In the Kenai Peninsula Borough, 44.4% of people 16 and up had received at least their first shot, and 40.9% were fully vaccinated. Over half of the borough’s seniors — 64.4% — were fully vaccinated as of Wednesday.

Out of 11 Alaska regions, the Kenai Peninsula Borough ranks No. 9 in vaccine rollout at 40.9%. The Juneau Region leads the state with a 68.6% vaccination rate for those 16 and older, according to state data updated on Wednesday.

Getting vaccinated

The Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is now available for kids from 12 to 15 years old.

Multiple vaccination appointments were available as of Wednesday, according to PrepMod, the online portal through which appointments can be scheduled. PrepMod can be accessed at myhealth.alaska.gov.

These include the Kenai Public Health Center and the Soldotna Professional Pharmacy both at its clinic and at Soldotna Prep School.

Additionally, many vaccine providers are switching from schedule-based appointments to walk-ins. The Soldotna Professional Pharmacy had its first walk-in clinic at the strip mall of the “Y” intersection in Soldotna on Monday, and plans to host one every weeknight from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.

A map of vaccine providers can be found on DHSS’ COVID-19 vaccine website at covidvax.alaska.gov. Many providers are using the state’s program to schedule appointments, which can be accessed at myhealth.alaska.gov. Instructions on how to schedule an appointment through alternative entities can be found on the map by clicking the icon of the preferred provider. Appointments at Walmart can be scheduled at walmart.com/covidvaccine.

People who would like assistance with scheduling a vaccination appointment can call the Kenai Peninsula Borough Office of Emergency Management call center. The center operates Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to noon. The central peninsula call center can be reached at 907-262-4636. The Homer call center can be reached at 907-235-4636. The Seward call center can be reached at 907-224-4636.

The City of Kenai is offering transportation to and from vaccine clinics located in Kenai in partnership with CARTS and Alaska Cab. Rides will be offered on a first-come, first-served basis until the budgeted funds run out. In order to participate in the program, people must be going from an address located in Kenai to a clinic in Kenai and will need to provide proof of vaccination. To schedule a ride, Alaska Cab can be reached at 907-283-6000 and CARTS can be reached at 907-262-8900.

COVID-19 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, Dena’ina Health Clinic, 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 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 from noon to 4 p.m. 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 Camille Botello at camille.botello@peninsulaclarion.com.

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