COVID-19. (Image via CDC)

COVID-19. (Image via CDC)

State reports 116 new cases, all residents

DHSS announced 116 new COVID-19 cases in Alaska on Wednesday.

The Alaska Department of Health and Social Services announced 116 new COVID-19 cases in Alaska on Wednesday. All are residents. Affected communities include Anchorage with 56 cases, Fairbanks with 28 cases, Nome Census Area with 12 cases, North Pole with five cases, Seward with three cases, Chugiak with two cases, Kotzebue with two cases, Juneau with two cases and one case each in Eagle River, Healy, Yukon Koyukuk Census Area, Big Lake, Northwest Arctic Borough and Bethel.

No nonresident cases were reported. The new cases bring Alaska’s statewide case total to 9,861, including 8,878 residents and 983 nonresidents.

The statewide alert level, based on the average daily case rate for the last two weeks, is high.

The state reported one new death in Anchorage. To date, 310 people have been hospitalized due to COVID-19 in Alaska and 59 people have died. Currently, there are 46 people hospitalized because of COVID-19 in Alaska, including 12 who are considered persons under investigation. Six of the patients are on ventilators.

The average daily positivity rate in Alaska for the past seven days, during which 14,027 tests were conducted, is 4.28%. To date, 490,074 tests have been conducted in Alaska. Over the past week, the Kenai Peninsula Borough conducted 471 tests and saw a 2.12% positivity rate, according to DHSS’ Coronavirus Response Hub.

Locally, South Peninsula Hospital has conducted 9,852 tests with 9,555 negative, 122 positive and 177 pending results. Central Peninsula Hospital has conducted 6,162 tests with 5,951 negative, 127 positive and 80 pending results.

Statewide 5,003 people have recovered from COVID-19.

Risk levels

Risk levels are one of the major tools the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District uses to determine the status of schools.

KPBSD also uses input from seven-day averages of positive cases, the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services, the Alaska Department of Education and Early Learning, and the COVID-19 Community Risk Level Medical Advisory Group.

DHSS created risk levels as part of a plan to reopen long-term care facilities to visitors, but DHSS says risk levels also can be used to inform decisions by other entities, including schools, institutions of higher learning and businesses.

The Alaska School Activities Association also is using risk levels to make determinations on practices and games for activities and sports.

Central Peninsula — Low Risk: The central peninsula, or Kenai, Nikiski, Soldotna, Sterling and “other North,” had no resident cases reported by the state Wednesday for a total of 23 cases in the last 14 days.

The central peninsula is high risk when there are 52 or more cases in the last 14 days, medium risk when there are 51 to 26 cases in the last 14 days, and low risk when there are 25 or fewer cases in the last 14 days.

According to the district’s Smart Start plan, at low risk, “Buildings are open and learning is conducted with additional protocols for health, safety, and continuity. Parents may select for students to learn remotely.”

For sports, ASAA allows practices and competitions to take place at low-risk level, but fewer restrictions are in place than at medium-risk level.

Southern Peninsula — Low Risk: The southern peninsula, or Homer, Fritz Creek, Anchor Point and “other South,” had no resident cases reported by the state Wednesday for a total of two cases in the last 14 days. A COVID-19 case in a member of the Homer High School football program, reported by the school Tuesday night, has not yet been reported by the state.

The southern peninsula is at high risk when there are 20 or more cases in the last 14 days, medium risk when there are 19 to 10 cases in the last 14 days, and low risk when there are nine cases or fewer in the last 14 days.

According to the district’s Smart Start plan, at low risk, “Buildings are open and learning is conducted with additional protocols for health, safety, and continuity. Parents may select for students to learn remotely.”

For sports, ASAA allows practices and competitions to take place at low-risk level, but fewer restrictions are in place than at medium-risk level.

Eastern Peninsula — Medium Risk: The eastern peninsula, or Seward, had three resident cases reported by the state Wednesday for a total of nine cases in the last 14 days.

The eastern peninsula is at high risk when there are eight or more cases in the last 14 days, medium risk when there are four to seven cases in the last 14 days, and low risk when there are three or fewer cases in the last 14 days. Seward schools will continue to operate at medium risk even though the two-week positive case count indicates high-risk levels, the district announced Wednesday.

According to the district’s Smart Start plan, at medium risk, “Buildings are open with possible social (physical) distancing protocols in place. Parents may select for students to learn remotely.”

For sports, ASAA allows practices and competitions to take place at medium-risk level, but more restrictions are in place than at low-risk level.

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.

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

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