The state Department of Health and Social Services reported another seven recent COVID-19 deaths Thursday.
They were two Fairbanks men over 70, a Palmer man in his 70s, a North Pole woman in her 60s, a North Pole man in his 50s, an Anchorage male in his 60s and a Fairbanks woman in her 30s.
That pushes the state’s COVID death toll to 473, contributing to the more than 680,000 fatalities across the country since the pandemic began.
Additionally, the state announced another 1,330 positive COVID cases as Alaska remained at a high alert level — estimating a seven-day rolling average of 857.6 cases per 100,000 people across the state.
The case count included 57 in Kenai, 38 in Soldotna, 22 in Homer, seven in Nikiski, six in Seward, five in Sterling and three in both the Kenai Peninsula Borough North and South.
Statewide, there were 221 COVID-related hospitalizations as of Wednesday.
At Central Peninsula Hospital there were 23 COVID patients on Thursday morning — 20 unvaccinated — with five of them in the intensive care unit and three on ventilators. The intensive care unit was operating at 100% and the hospital as a whole was at 124% capacity Thursday.
Health officials widely agree that choosing to get vaccinated is the single best tool there is to protect the people in each community.
The Pfizer-BioNTech, now marketed as the Comirnaty vaccine, received full approval from the Food and Drug Administration last month for anyone 16 and older.
Pfizer is still available via emergency use authorization to kids 12 to 15 years old, and the Moderna and Johnson and Johnson/Janssen shots have an Emergency Use Authorization for anyone 18 and older.
Across the state, 58.3% of everyone 12 and up was fully vaccinated against COVID-19 as of Thursday. Another 62.7% had received at least one shot.
The Kenai Peninsula Borough’s vaccination rate continues to lag behind many other regions.
As of Thursday, 48.8% of people 12 and older were fully vaccinated and another 52.1% had received at least one dose. The only census area to have a lower vaccination rate was the Matanuska-Susitna region on Thursday, which just recently broke 40%.
A map of vaccine providers can be found on DHSS’ COVID-19 vaccine website at covidvax.alaska.gov.
COVID testing locations
Officials encourage anyone with symptoms to test for COVID-19, despite vaccination status.
In Kenai, testing is available at the Chignik Lagoon Clinic, Odyssey Family Practice, Kenai Public Health Center and Capstone Clinic.
In Soldotna, testing is available at the Peninsula Community Health Center, Urgent Care of Soldotna, Walgreens and Soldotna Professional Pharmacy.
In Seward, testing is available at Providence Medical Center, Chugachmiut-North Star Health Clinic, Glacier Family Medicine, Seward Community Health Center and the Safeway pharmacy. Starting Sept. 14, the Seward Community Health Center is offering drive-through testing Tuesdays and Thursdays from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m.
In Homer, testing is available at South Peninsula Hospital, or through other area health care providers at Seldovia Village Tribe Health and Wellness, Kachemak Medical Group and Homer Medical Center.
Reach reporter Camille Botello at firstname.lastname@example.org