COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)

Peninsula ranks 3rd highest for COVID cases

Out of the seven Alaska regions at high-alert level, the peninsula ranks just below Anchorage and the Matanuska-Susitna region.

The Kenai Peninsula Borough remains among the highest risk areas for COVID-19 in the state.

Out of the seven Alaska regions at high-alert level, categorized by an average daily case rate of 10 or more per 100,000 people over a 14-day period, the borough is the third highest with 20.36 cases per 100,000 people. In contrast, the Northwest Region is at low-alert level, with a daily average of 4.74 cases per 100,000 people. Anchorage and the Matanuska-Susitna region, with 22.27 cases and 48.19 cases per 100,000, respectively, are ranked highest risk in the state.

The Alaska Department of Health and Social Services announced 107 new COVID-19 cases on Tuesday, bringing the statewide total to 63,778. Although 107 is lower than last weekend’s average, Alaska remains at high-alert level with an average 22.02 positive cases statewide per 100,000 people.

The new case count includes seven on the Kenai Peninsula — around half of last weekend’s daily average. Affected peninsula communities include Anchor Point with three, Soldotna with two and one each in Kenai and the Kenai Peninsula Borough – North.

Alaska also reported 20 new cases in Fairbanks, 19 in both Anchorage and Wasilla, 15 in Palmer, seven in North Pole, two in both Dillingham and Ketchikan, and one each in Bethel, Big Lake, Eagle River, Fairbanks North Star Borough, Houston, Kodiak, the Kusilvak Census Area, Nome and Valdez. In addition, seven new nonresident COVID cases were reported on Tuesday.

DHSS announced six new hospitalizations and zero new deaths, bringing the statewide totals to 1,432 and 329, respectively. As of Tuesday, there were 39 total COVID-related hospitalizations in Alaska, with one of the patients on a ventilator.

Vaccination rates

Across Alaskans of all ages, 37.3% had received at least one vaccine dose as of Tuesday. For those 16 and older who have received at least one dose, that number jumps to 48.1%. Around 40.5% of eligible Alaskans are fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

For seniors 65 years and older, 70.6% have already been fully vaccinated statewide.

In the Kenai Peninsula Borough, 28.3% of people across all ages are fully vaccinated, with 35.4% of people 16 and older having received all their doses. Additionally, 32.4% of the borough across all ages had received at least one dose as of Tuesday. Over half of peninsula seniors — 61.2% — are fully vaccinated.

Out of 11 Alaska regions, the Kenai Peninsula Borough ranks No. 9 in vaccine rollout, according to state data updated on Monday. The Southeast Region – Northern leads the state at a 62.7% vaccination rate for those 16 and older.

Alaska remains at No. 3 in the nation for vaccine rollout at 32.2% across all ages, according to NPR. The state trails Maine at 33.3% and New Mexico at 32.6%. An estimated 25.7% of the country across all ages is fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

According to CNN, the United States is ranked No. 11 worldwide in vaccine rollout for eligible residents. The British Overseas Territory of Gibraltar leads the world with a 91.5% vaccination rate.

How to get vaccinated

A total of 30 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 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.

Reach reporter Camille Botello at camille.botello@peninsulaclarion.com.

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