COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)

State announces 1 new death related to COVID-19

1 new case on the southern peninsula, 2 more in Soldotna

The state announced one new death of an Alaska resident linked to COVID-19 on Wednesday, as well as two new cases in Soldotna and one new case on the southern Kenai Peninsula.

The person who died was a resident of the Anchorage Pioneer Home who had previously tested positive and was hospitalized, the Anchorage Daily News reported. This brings the total number of Alaska residents whose deaths have been related to COVID-19 to 37. Clinton Bennett, public information officer for Alaska’s Department of Health and Social Services, said Wednesday that due to confidentiality reasons DHSS will not release information about a death that could potentially identify the person. Bennett said 14 resident cases have been tied to the outbreak at the Anchorage Pioneer Home. Two of those residents were hospitalized, one has died and four have recovered and been released from isolation.

DHSS reported 53 new cases of COVID-19 in Alaska on Wednesday — 52 resident cases and one nonresident case. This brings the total numbers of cases in the state to 4,895 residents and 824 residents, according to the DHSS coronavirus response hub website.

Of those, 1,899 residents and 189 nonresidents are considered recovered so far, while 2,959 residents and 635 nonresidents are still considered active cases.

As of Wednesday, 207 total cumulative Alaska residents and four nonresidents have been hospitalized for COVID-19 since the start of the coronavirus pandemic. Those numbers include people who have since died or since gotten better and been released.

According to state data, there are 39 people currently being hospitalized for confirmed cases of COVID-19, as well as five people currently being hospitalized as people under investigation for suspected cases.

Of the 52 new resident cases announced Wednesday, three of them are on the peninsula. Two are in Soldotna and one is in the “other South” category used by DHSS to note communities on the southern peninsula whose populations are less than 1,000 people. DHSS does not identify communities with populations smaller than that to help protect the identity of people who contract the virus.

This brings the cumulative number of cases on the peninsula to 406, with 208 of those cases still active. There are now 104 cases in Soldotna, 84 in Kenai, 69 in Homer, 62 in Seward, 32 in “other South,” 23 in Sterling, 12 in “other North,” 10 in Anchor Point, six in Nikiski and four in Fritz Creek. There have been two COVID-19-related deaths of peninsula residents so far. Both were Anchor Point residents, and one was out of state at the time.

Of the other new COVID-19 cases announced Wednesday, 26 are in Anchorage, 10 in Fairbanks, four in Palmer, two in Wasilla, one in Sutton-Alpine, one in Utqiagvik, two in the Northwest Arctic Borough, two in Yakutat plus Hoonah-Angoon, and one in Unalaska.

The one new nonresident case announced Wednesday is in Juneau.

DHSS reports new case numbers around noon each day, and they reflect the cases that got reported to the state the day before.

According to the data hub, the current turnaround time for COVID-19 test results processed through the state laboratory is 2.6 days. There have been 334,804 tests performed in Alaska to date, giving the state a 2.14% positivity rate as of Tuesday.

Locally, the most recent testing data published by South Peninsula Hospital on Monday shows that 7,463 tests have been conducted at the hospital so far, with 7,243 of them coming back negative and 117 still pending. The hospital has had 113 positive test results so far. Central Peninsula Hospital has conducted 4,370 tests as of Wednesday, with 4,185 negative, 109 positive and 62 pending results.

According to data last updated on Aug. 21, NTC Community Clinic has done 1,525 tests so far, with 49 of them coming back positive. SVT Health & Wellness Clinic with locations in Seldovia, Homer and Anchor Point has conducted 641 COVID-19 tests so far, according to data updated on Tuesday. Of those, 630 have come back negative, 11 have been positive and none are pending.

Testing

In Homer, testing continues to be available from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily at South Peninsula Hospital’s main entrance 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.

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.

Reach Megan Pacer at mpacer@homernews.com.

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