COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)

State reports 12 new resident COVID deaths

The deaths were recorded after death certificate reviews.

The Alaska Department of Health and Social Services reported 12 new resident and one new nonresident COVID-19 deaths on Monday, after another death certificate review, bringing the statewide toll to 341.

Two of the 13 fatalities were of people under 40 years old.

Additionally, the state saw 430 new COVID-19 cases over the weekend, bringing the statewide total to 64,786. Alaska remains at high-alert level, with 21.62 cases per 100,000 people, which is slightly down from last Monday.

The new case count includes 15 on the Kenai Peninsula, a big drop from the 46 last Monday. Affected peninsula communities include Soldotna with eight, Kenai with four, and one each in Homer, the Kenai Peninsula Borough South, and Seward.

Alaska also reported 125 new cases in Fairbanks, 86 in Anchorage, 52 in Wasilla, 32 in North Pole, 30 in Palmer, 10 in Tok, seven each in Eagle River, the Northwest Arctic Borough and Utqiagvik, five in Ketchikan, four in both the Kusilvak Census Area and the Prince of Wales-Hyder Census Area, three in both Chugiak and Juneau, two each in the Bethel Census Area, Big Lake, the Copper River Census Area, Craig, Kodiak and the Southeast Fairbanks Census Area, and one each in Delta Junction, the Denali Borough, Dillingham, Ester, the Fairbanks North Star Borough, Haines, Hoonah-Angoon and Yakutat, Sitka, Skagway, Sutton-Alpine, Unalaska, Valdez, and Willow. There are four locations unknown and still under investigation.

The DHSS also announced 12 new hospitalizations, bringing the total number of residents who have been hospitalized since the pandemic began to 1,463. As of Monday, there were 39 total COVID-related hospitalizations in Alaska, with five of the patients on ventilators.

Vaccination rates

Alaska hit another vaccination milestone this weekend, as it reported on Monday that a total of 49.2% of people ages 16 and up have received their first COVID-19 vaccine. Statewide, 42.4% of eligible Alaskans are fully inoculated.

This comes after the Food and Drug Administration lifted the pause on the Johnson & Johnson/Janssen vaccine on Friday.

In the Kenai Peninsula Borough, 36.9% of Alaskans 16 and up are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and 41.4% have received at least one dose. Over half of peninsula seniors — 61.7% — are fully vaccinated. Across all age groups, 29.2% of peninsula residents are fully vaccinated.

Out of 11 Alaska regions, the Kenai Peninsula Borough remains No. 9 in vaccine rollout, according to state data updated on Monday. The Southeast Region – Northern leads the state at a 63.3% vaccination rate for those 16 and older.

Over the weekend Alaska dropped to No. 7 in the nation for vaccine rollout at 34% across all ages, according to NPR. The state now trails Maine, Connecticut, New Mexico, Vermont, South Dakota and Rhode Island. An estimated 28.5% of the country is fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

The United States remains No. 10 worldwide in vaccine rollout, according to CNN on Monday. The British Overseas Territory of Gibraltar leads the world with a 95% vaccination rate.

Getting vaccinated

A total of 92 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 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.

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

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