COVID-19. (Image via CDC)

COVID-19. (Image via CDC)

Peninsula COVID vaccinations far surpass infections

7,358 people in the “Kenai” region have received at least one dose of their COVID-19 vaccine

The number of people on the Kenai Peninsula who have received the COVID-19 vaccine is almost double number of people in the area to have contracted the virus.

7,358 people in the “Kenai” region had received at least one dose of their COVID-19 vaccine as of Monday, according to the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services’ Vaccine Monitoring Dashboard. That’s compared to 3,946 COVID-19 cases that have been reported in the Kenai Peninsula Borough since the pandemic began.

For the months of December, January and February, Alaska received an allocation of 174,400 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine. As of Monday, 152,871 doses had already been administered, though that number is expected to be higher due to a lag in reporting. 109,187 Alaskans had received at least one dose of their COVID-19 vaccine with 43,684 Alaskans having received both.

Alaska currently leads the nation in the percentage of the population that have received at least one dose. 14.5% of Alaska’s population has received at least one dose, according to NPR’s COVID-19 vaccine tracker. That is compared to the nationwide percentage of 9.5%.

As of Thursday, people eligible to receive the vaccine in Alaska included most health care workers and Alaskans over the age of 65. People can check their eligibility on the DHSS COVID vaccine website at covidvax.alaska.gov.

The City of Kenai is offering transportation to and from vaccine clinics located in Kenai in partnership with CARTS and Alaska Cab. The city council approved $5,000 for the program at their Jan. 20 meeting. 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.

Officials also said that the state’s COVID data hub, which has moved to alaska-coronavirus-vaccine-outreach-alaska-dhss.hub.arcgis.com, will no longer be updated on weekends.

Case counts

The number of new COVID-19 cases in Alaska and on the Kenai Peninsula continues to stay low. DHSS reported just 96 new cases statewide on Monday, including seven reported among nonresidents. Two cases were reported on the peninsula: one in Anchor Point and one in Soldotna.

As of Monday, the borough was considered to be at “intermediate” risk level, with a 14-day case rate of 6.36. The borough was one of three regions in the state not considered to be at “high” risk level, with the Northwest Region and Other Southeast Region – Northern.

Over the past week, 1,246 COVID-19 tests were conducted on the Kenai Peninsula, resulting in a 1.04% positivity rate. To date, the borough has conducted 63,189 tests. Statewide, 63,107 tests were conducted over the past week, which saw a positivity rate of 2.19%. To date, 1,555,532 tests have been conducted in Alaska.

The state also reported four new hospitalizations and no new deaths, bringing the state’s totals to date to 1,187 and 277, respectively. As of Monday, there were 39 people hospitalized due to COVID-19 in Alaska, including three who were considered persons under investigation. Nine of the patients were on ventilators.

In addition to the two new cases on the peninsula, the state also reported 23 cases in Wasilla, 17 in Anchorage, 14 in Bethel Census Area, 13 in Palmer, six in Eagle River, two in Chugiak, two in Fairbanks, two in Ketchikan, two in Nome Census Area and one each in Aleutians East Borough, Bristol Bay plus Lake and Peninsula Boroughs, Dillingham, Kusilvak Census Area, Northwest Arctic Borough and Willow.

Seven nonresident cases were also reported, all with locations under investigation.

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.

In Seward, testing is available at Providence Seward, Seward Community Health Center, Glacier Family Medicine and North Star Health Clinic.

The City of Seward is also offering drive-thru COVID testing on Tuesdays in February from 12 p.m. to 1 p.m. Testing will be conducted at Seward Community Health Center. Cars should line up on 1st Ave. at the parking lot entrance. People interested in getting tested should bring a face mask and a photo ID. People with COVID-19 symptoms should not wait for the next drive-thru testing date and should contact their health care provider immediately.

Reach reporter Ashlyn O’Hara at ashlyn.ohara@peninsulaclarion.com.

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