A sign instructing patients and visitors on the COVID-19 screening process is seen in the River Tower of Central Peninsula Hospital in Soldotna, Alaska, on April 7, 2020. (Photo by Brian Mazurek/Peninsula Clarion)

A sign instructing patients and visitors on the COVID-19 screening process is seen in the River Tower of Central Peninsula Hospital in Soldotna, Alaska, on April 7, 2020. (Photo by Brian Mazurek/Peninsula Clarion)

Hospital resumes non-urgent procedures; case count increases by 4

On May 4, the state allowed for most non-urgent surgeries and procedures to resume.

As the state continues to see a minimal number of new COVID-19 cases, Central Peninsula Hospital is resuming most non-urgent, elective and routine procedures at their main campus and clinics. Four new cases of the disease were reported by the Department of Health and Social Services on Thursday, three from Anchorage and one from Tok.

On May 4, the state allowed for most non-urgent surgeries and procedures to resume, and CPH has been working since that time to be able to make these procedures available.

The hospital is now open for these services and is encouraging people to schedule their routine health care visits, screenings and surgeries, according to a Thursday press release from the hospital.

“Our CPH Hospital and clinic teams are ready to deliver safe care to all patients,” CEO Rick Davis said in the release. “We continue to follow all Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Alaska Department of Health and Social Services safety guidelines.”

Safety protocols currently in place at the hospital include, but are not limited to:

All people entering the hospital or clinics will be screened for COVID-19 symptoms.

All people will be required to wear a face covering inside CPH facilities. Face coverings can be homemade masks, bandanas or simple procedure masks. Patients should bring their own mask if they have one, but if not, one will be supplied by CPH upon entering.

All care team members will wear surgical masks, protective eye wear and other personal protective equipment at all times when caring for patients.

Visitor restrictions remain in place. One support person will be allowed for surgical patients, delivering mothers, children under 18, patients with confusion, altered mental status or developmental delays, and end-of-life patients.

Six-foot social distances will be established in public areas, including waiting rooms.

Extra cleaning and disinfection of high-touch, public surface areas will continue.

Infectious patients will be cared for in isolation, away from non-infectious patients.

COVID-19 tests will be performed on all inpatients and all surgical patients 48 hours prior to their procedure.

Family practice and specialty clinics will still deliver services via telehealth when possible, and CPH may cease nonessential procedures in the event of a COVID-19 surge in the area.

“Safety is our top priority,” Davis said. “Our services may look a little different in the new normal, but our commitment to our mission, to deliver high-quality, compassionate, personalized health care, remains the same.”

COVID-19 in Alaska: By the numbers

Alaska’s total number of COVID-19 cases now stands at 387. Of the four new cases, three are male and one is female. One is between the ages of 50 and 59, two are between 70 and 79 and one is over 80.

One additional hospitalization was reported Thursday, bringing that total to 39. Ten deaths have been associated with COVID-19 in Alaska, and no new deaths were reported on Thursday.

The number of people who have recovered from the disease is now at 339, with one additional recovery being reported Thursday.

Across the state, 31,762 tests for COVID-19 have been conducted.

Currently, anyone exhibiting symptoms associated with COVID-19 can be tested.

Symptoms associated with COVID-19 include fever, cough, fatigue, loss of appetite, shortness of breath, increased sputum (phlegm) production, chills, diminished sense of taste or smell, diarrhea, headaches, muscle aches, nausea, rashes, sore throat and congestion.

To find a testing location near you, visit Alaska’s Testing Site Locator.

The 387 cases in Alaska are distributed among 26 different communities. In the Anchorage Municipality, 176 cases are from Anchorage, six are from Chugiak, 13 are from Eagle River and three are from Girdwood.

On the Kenai Peninsula, two cases are from Anchor Point, four are from Homer, six are from Kenai, three are from Seward, six are from Soldotna and three are from Sterling. Both of the Anchor Point residents who tested positive have since died: One was a man in his 30s who died while out of state, and the other was a man in his 80s who died after being hospitalized in Homer.

In the Fairbanks North Star Borough, Fairbanks has 66 cases and North Pole has 18.

In the Southeast Fairbanks Census Area, Tok has two cases.

In the Matanuska-Susitna Borough, Palmer has nine cases and Wasilla has 12.

In the Southeast, Juneau has 29 cases, Ketchikan has 16, Petersburg has four and Craig has two.

Kodiak, Delta Junction, Nome, Sitka, Bethel, the Yukon-Koyukuk Census Area and an unidentified community in the Fairbanks North Star Borough each have one case. Cases within communities with fewer than 1,000 people are included in the count for their borough or census area but are not individually reported.

For information on the latest health mandates that have been issued by the state, visit covid19.alaska.gov/health-mandates.

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