COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)

DHSS reports 138 new positive cases, 3 on peninsula

Nearly 40% of Alaskans across all ages — 38.3% — had received at least one vaccine dose as of Tuesday.

The Alaska Department of Health and Social Services announced 138 new COVID-19 cases on Tuesday, bringing the statewide total to 64,916. Although this is slightly lower than the average daily case number over the weekend, Alaska remains at high-alert level with about 21.61 positive cases statewide per 100,000 people.

The new case count only includes three on the Kenai Peninsula, which is lower than the weekend’s daily average. Kenai reported two and Homer reported one.

Out of the seven Alaska regions in the high-alert division, categorized by having an average of 10 or more positive cases per 100,000 people over a 14-day period, the Kenai Peninsula Borough is the third highest with 18.66. In contrast, the Northwest Region is on low alert, with an average of only 4.28 cases per 100,000 people.

Alaska also saw 40 new cases in Fairbanks, 24 in Wasilla, 20 in North Pole, 19 in Anchorage, 11 in the Fairbanks North Star Borough, five in Palmer, two in Ketchikan, and one each in Big Lake, Chugiak, Delta Junction, Juneau, Nome, and Utqiagvik.

In addition, another eight new nonresident COVID cases were reported on Tuesday.

DHSS also announced eight new hospitalizations and zero new deaths, bringing the statewide totals to 1,471 and 341. As of Tuesday, there were 42 total COVID-related hospitalizations in Alaska, with five of the patients on ventilators.

Vaccination rates

Nearly 40% of Alaskans across all ages — 38.3% — had received at least one vaccine dose as of Tuesday. Of those 16 and older eligible for the vaccine with at least one dose, that number jumps to 49.3%. Around 42.5% of eligible Alaskans are fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

In the Kenai Peninsula Borough, 29.3% of people across all ages are fully vaccinated, with 37% of people 16 and older having received all their doses. Additionally, 32.8% of the borough across all ages had received at least one dose as of Tuesday. Over half of peninsula seniors — 61.7% — are fully vaccinated.

Out of 11 Alaska regions, the Kenai Peninsula Borough ranks No. 9 in vaccine rollout at 37%, according to state data updated on Tuesday. The Southeast Region – Northern leads the state at a 63.4% vaccination rate for those 16 and older.

Alaska dropped to No. 7 in the nation for vaccine rollout at 34% across all ages, according to NPR on Tuesday. The state trails Connecticut, Maine, New Mexico, Vermont, South Dakota, and Rhode Island. An estimated 28.9% of the country across all ages is fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

According to CNN on Tuesday, the United States is still ranked No. 10 worldwide in vaccine rollout for eligible residents. The British Overseas Territory of Gibraltar leads the world with a 95% vaccination rate.

Getting vaccinated

A total of 104 COVID-19 vaccination appointments were available across multiple central peninsula clinics as of Monday, according to PrepMod, the online portal through which appointments can be scheduled. PrepMod can be accessed at myhealth.alaska.gov.

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.

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, 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. Testing is also available at Homer Public Health Center daily from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

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.

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