COVID-19. (Courtesy of CDC).

COVID-19. (Courtesy of CDC).

DHSS reports more than 200 new cases for fifth time this week

The statewide alert level, based on the average daily case rate for the last two weeks, is high.

The Alaska Department of Health and Social Services announced 210 new COVID-19 cases in Alaska on Thursday. All are residents. Affected communities include Chevak with 58 cases, Anchorage with 55 cases, Bethel Census Area with 23 cases, Wasilla with 22 cases, Kenai with nine cases, Nome Census Area with eight cases, Bethel with six cases, Fairbanks with five cases, Eagle River with three cases, Juneau with three cases, Soldotna with three cases, Chugiak with two cases, Palmer with two cases, Utqiagvik with two cases and one case each in Kotzebue, Kusilvak Census Area, Mat-Su Borough, Nikiski, North Slope Borough, Skagway, Valdez and Valdez-Cordova Census Area.

The new cases bring Alaska’s statewide total to 12,877 including 11,837 residents and 1,040 nonresidents. Over the past week, the state reported a daily increase of more than 200 cases five times.

The statewide alert level, based on the average daily case rate for the last two weeks, is high at 26.76. The Kenai Peninsula Borough’s alert level is also high at 16.77.

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 reported no new deaths and three new hospitalizations. To date, 385 people have been hospitalized due to COVID-19 in Alaska and 68 people have died. Currently, there are 41 people hospitalized with COVID-19 in the state. Five of the patients are on ventilators.

The average daily positivity rate in Alaska for the past seven days, during which 7,810 tests were conducted, is 5.22%. To date, 548,709 tests have been conducted in Alaska. Over the past week, the Kenai Peninsula Borough conducted 331 tests and saw a 5.74% positivity rate, according to DHSS’ Coronavirus Response Hub.

Locally, Central Peninsula Hospital has conducted 6,958 tests with 6,678 negative, 173 positive and 103 pending results. South Peninsula Hospital has conducted 10,836 tests with 10,470 negative, 143 positive and 223 pending results.

Statewide 6,812 people have recovered from COVID-19.

Risk levels

Risk levels are one of the major tools the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District uses to determine the status of schools.

KPBSD also uses input from seven-day averages of positive cases, the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services, the Alaska Department of Education and Early Learning, and the COVID-19 Community Risk Level Medical Advisory Group.

DHSS created risk levels as part of a plan to reopen long-term care facilities to visitors, but DHSS says risk levels also can be used to inform decisions by other entities, including schools, institutions of higher learning and businesses.

The Alaska School Activities Association also is using risk levels to make determinations on practices and games for activities and sports.

According to the district’s Smart Start plan, at high risk, buildings are closed to students and learning is 100% remote.

Central Peninsula — High Risk

The central peninsula, or Kenai, Nikiski, Soldotna, Sterling and “other North,” had 13 resident cases reported by the state Thursday for a total of 103 cases in the last 14 days.

The central peninsula is high risk when there are 52 or more cases in the last 14 days, medium risk when there are 51 to 26 cases in the last 14 days, and low risk when there are 25 or fewer cases in the last 14 days.

Southern Peninsula — High Risk

The southern peninsula, or Homer, Fritz Creek, Anchor Point and “other South,” had no resident cases reported by the state Thursday for a total of 27 cases in the last 14 days.

The southern peninsula is at high risk when there are 20 or more cases in the last 14 days, medium risk when there are 19 to 10 cases in the last 14 days, and low risk when there are nine cases or fewer in the last 14 days.

Eastern Peninsula — High Risk

The eastern peninsula, or Seward, had no resident cases reported by the state Thursday for a total of eight cases in the last 14 days.

The eastern peninsula is at high risk when there are eight or more cases in the last 14 days, medium risk when there are four to seven cases in the last 14 days, and low risk when there are three or fewer cases in the last 14 days.

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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