The Alaska Department of Health and Social Services announced 338 new COVID-19 cases in Alaska on Thursday, including 10 on the Kenai Peninsula. Affected peninsula communities include Soldotna with three cases, Kenai with two cases, Sterling with two cases, Homer with one case, Other North with one case and Seward with one case.
The new cases bring Alaska’s statewide case total to 49,228, including 47,660 residents and 1,568 nonresidents.
As of Thursday, Central Peninsula Hospital had conducted 10,722 tests with 9,986 negative, 708 positive and 11 pending results. CPH was treating four patients who were COVID-positive on Thursday, with no patients on ventilators. Also as of Thursday, CPH had vaccinated 370 people. Statewide, 20,775 initial doses of the COVID-19 vaccine had been administered as of Thursday.
Over the past week, the Kenai Peninsula Borough has conducted 1,029 tests and saw a positivity rate of 3.6%. To date, the borough has conducted 55,622 tests. The current statewide alert level, based on the average daily case rate for the past two weeks, is high at 36.68. The Kenai Peninsula Borough’s alert level is also high at 18.97.
The state also reported 10 new hospitalizations and three new deaths. To date, 1,084 people in Alaska have been hospitalized due to COVID-19 and 223 people have died. Currently, there are 89 people hospitalized in Alaska who are COVID-19 positive or who are considered persons under investigation for the disease. Eight of the patients are on ventilators.
The three new deaths include an Anchorage woman in her 50s, a Kusilvak Census Area woman in her 50s and a Bethel Census Area resident in her 50s.
Alaska’s daily positivity rate for the past seven days, during which 27,709 tests were conducted, is 4.59%. To date, 1,326,542 tests have been conducted in Alaska.
In addition to the 10 new cases on the peninsula, the state also reported 142 new cases in Anchorage, 36 in Wasilla, 30 in Northwest Arctic Borough, 29 in Fairbanks, 24 in Palmer, 11 in North Pole, 10 in Bethel, nine in Kusilvak Census Area, six in Eagle River, six in Kodiak, four in Other Copper River, two in Dillingham Census Area, two in Girdwood, two in Petersburg, two in Yukon-Koyukuk Census Area and one each in Bethel Census Area, Big Lake, Chugiak, Fairbanks North Star Borough, Hooper Bay, Ketchikan, North Slope Borough, Unalaska and Willow.
Four nonresident cases were also reported. Two were reported in Anchorage, one was reported in Northwest Arctic Borough and one has a location still under investigation.
Who can receive the COVID-19 vaccine right now?
In determining who is able to get the COVID vaccine and when, the state considers recommendations from the CDC Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices. Vaccine allocation is divided into three phases.
Those phases are divided into sub-phases. Those sub-phases are then divided further into tiers. Front-line health care workers, along with residents and staff of long-term care facilities were given first priority in Phase 1a, Tier 1.
Phase 1a, Tier 2 includes front-line EMS and Fire Service personnel frequently exposed to COVID-19 patients, community health aides/practitioners and health care workers providing vaccinations. Vaccinations for people in Phase 1a, Tiers 1 and 2 began on Dec. 15.
Phase 1a, Tier 3 includes workers in health care settings who are at highest risk of contracting COVID-19 and who are essential to the health care infrastructure who meet specific criteria outlined by the state. Vaccinations for people in Phase 1a, Tier 3 began on Jan. 4.
People in Phase 1b Tier 1, meaning Alaskans who are 65 and older, were able to schedule appointments for Jan. 11 on Wednesday at noon.
COVID-19 vaccine providers
As of Tuesday, people eligible to schedule an appointment to receive the COVID-19 vaccine include people in Phase 1a, Tiers 1-3 and Phase 1b, Tier 1.
Although the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services’ COVID-19 vaccine provider map has provider contact information under “Make an Appointment,” people interested in scheduling an appointment should do so via the state’s registration site at myhealth.alaska.gov if an alternative link is not offered by the provider.
In Soldotna, appointments can be scheduled at Soldotna Professional Pharmacy, at Peninsula Community Health Services or at Fred Meyer. At Peninsula Community Health Services, a registration packet must be completed for appointment.
In Homer, appointments can be scheduled at South Peninsula Hospital.
In Seward, appointments can be scheduled at Seward Community Health Center or at Safeway Pharmacy. Individuals going through Safeway should bring their insurance card and be prepared to wait 15-30 minutes after being vaccinated.
More information about the COVID-19 vaccine in Alaska can be found on DHSS’ vaccine website at covidvax.alaska.gov.
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.