COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)

State reports 345 new cases, 600 active on the peninsula

Kenai Peninsula Borough reported 15 cases Monday and 28 cases Sunday.

The Alaska Department of Health and Social Services announced 345 new COVID-19 cases in Alaska on Monday, 344 of which are residents. Affected communities include Anchorage with 158 cases, Wasilla with 45 cases, Fairbanks with 35 cases, Palmer with 17 cases, Eagle River with 13 cases, North Pole with 10 cases, Chevak with eight cases, Bethel with seven cases, Bethel Census Area with six cases, Soldotna with six cases, Chugiak with five cases, Kenai with four cases, Douglas with three cases, Nome Census Area with three cases, Big Lake with two cases, Fairbanks North Star Borough with two cases, Homer with two cases, Ketchikan with two cases, Kotzebue with two cases, Willow with two cases, Yukon-Koyukuk Census Area with two cases and one case each in Aleutians East Borough, Dillingham, Juneau, Kenai Peninsula Borough South, Kusilvak Census area, Mat-Su Borough, Northwest Arctic Borough, Seward, Sterling and Sutton-Alpine.

Fifteen of the cases were reported in the Kenai Peninsula Borough, which reported 28 cases on Sunday. According to DHSS’ Coronavirus Response Hub, there are currently 600 active COVID-19 cases in the borough.

According to Kenai Peninsula Public Health Nurse Manager Leslie Felts, of the 92 cases reported on the Central Kenai Peninsula from Oct. 20 to Nov. 2, 19 were between the ages of 60 and 69, 15 were between the ages of 50 and 59 and 14 were between the ages of 20 and 29.

One new nonresident case was also reported with an unknown location. The new cases bring Alaska’s statewide case total to 17,057, including 15,972 residents and 1,085 nonresidents.

The statewide alert level, based on the average daily case rate for the last two weeks, is high at 45.93. The Kenai Peninsula Borough’s alert level is also high at 44.67.

High risk is defined as more than 10 cases per 100,000 people, intermediate risk is five to 10 cases per 100,000 people and low risk is fewer than five cases per 100,000 people.

The state reported one new death and three new hospitalizations. To date, 444 Alaska residents have been hospitalized due to COVID-19 and 84 have died. Currently, there are 97 people hospitalized in Alaska who are COVID-19 positive or who are considered persons under investigation for the disease. Six of the patients are on ventilators.

The individual who died was an Anchorage woman in her 80s.

The average daily positivity rate in Alaska for the past seven days, during which 28,338 tests were conducted, is 6.48%. To date, 620,170 tests have been conducted in Alaska. Over the past week, the Kenai Peninsula Borough conducted 1,136 tests and saw an 11.71% positivity rate, according to DHSS’ Coronavirus Response Hub.

Locally, South Peninsula Hospital has conducted 11,350 tests, including 11,072 negative, 162 positive and 116 pending results. Central Peninsula Hospital has conducted 7,581 tests with 7,218 negative, 258 positive and 99 pending results.

Statewide 6,463 residents have recovered from COVID-19.

Risk levels

Thirty five Kenai Peninsula Borough School District schools continue to operate 100% remotely due to high case numbers reported on the peninsula.

Five smaller district schools, including Cooper Landing School, Hope School, Nanwalek School, Port Graham School and Tebughna School are currently operating at low-risk level, but may shift to 100% remote learning if there is a local positive COVID-19 case.

When schools operate at high-risk level, learning is conducted 100% remotely and buildings are closed to students.

In determining whether to reopen a school to on-site learning, the district and their Medical Advisory Team analyze 14-day positive case counts, analyze the seven-day positivity trends, consult with medical providers and review their school decision matrix.

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.

During 100% remote learning, Get-It and Go meals are free for all students and can be picked up daily at school. Pre-K, kindergarten and special education intensive needs students can still attend classes in-person during 100% remote learning.

Operational risk levels, case incidence rates and case numbers by community are updated daily on the district’s risk levels dashboard at covid19.kpbsd.org/dashboard.

Susan B. English School in Seldovia shifted to 100% remote learning on Oct. 27 after the district confirmed a positive case of COVID-19 in the community. It will continue operating remotely through at least Nov. 6.

Central Peninsula — High Risk: The central peninsula, or Kenai, Nikiski, Soldotna, Sterling and “other North,” had 37 resident cases reported by the state Sunday and Monday for a total of 328 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.

100% remote learning will continue for central peninsula schools through at least Nov. 13. As of Monday, the central peninsula will need to lose 277 cases from its 14-day case count for schools to drop back into medium risk.

Central peninsula schools include Aurora Borealis Charter School, K-Beach Elementary, Kaleidoscope School of Arts and Sciences, Kenai Alternative School, Kenai Central High School, Kenai Middle School, Marathon School, Mountain View Elementary, Nikiski Middle-High School, Nikiski North Star Elementary, Redoubt Elementary, River City Academy, Skyview Middle School, Soldotna Elementary School, Soldotna High School, Soldotna Montessori Charter School, Sterling Elementary and Tustumena Elementary.

Southern Peninsula — High Risk: The southern peninsula, or Homer, Fritz Creek, Anchor Point and “other South,” had five resident cases reported by the state Sunday and Monday for a total of 32 cases in the last 14 days.

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.

100% remote learning will continue for southern peninsula schools through at least Nov. 6. As of Monday, the southern peninsula will need to lose 13 cases from its 14-day case count for schools to drop back into medium risk.

Southern peninsula schools include Chapman School, Fireweed Academy, Homer Flex School, Homer High School, Kachemak Selo School, McNeil Canyon Elementary, Nikolaevsk School, Ninilchik School, Paul Banks Elementary, Razdolna School, Voznesenka School and West Homer Elementary.

Eastern Peninsula — High Risk: The eastern peninsula, or Seward, had one resident case reported by the state Sunday and Monday for a total of 10 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.

100% remote learning will for eastern peninsula schools will continue through at least Nov. 6. As of Monday, the eastern peninsula will need to lose three cases from its 14-day case count for schools to drop back into medium risk.

Eastern peninsula schools include Moose Pass School, Seward Elementary, Seward High School and Seward Middle School.

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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