COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)

Statewide cases continue to plateau

203 new COVID-19 cases were reported on Saturday

Alaska finished the week by reporting 203 new COVID-19 cases in the state on Saturday. In total, 1,775 new cases were reported in the state this week, a notable decrease from previous weeks. Last Friday, the state reported a weekly case increase of 3,361, which was a decrease from the previous Friday, when 4,206 weekly cases were reported.

As of Dec. 25, 11,845 initial COVID-19 vaccine doses had been administered in Alaska, including 11,285 from Pfizer and 560 from Moderna. Both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines required two doses to be effective. Pfizer doses must be administered 21 days apart, while Moderna doses must be administered 28 days apart.

Among residents and nonresidents, the state also reported 24 new hospitalizations and four new deaths this week for a total of 991 and 200, respectively. As of Saturday, there were 79 Alaska residents hospitalized with COVID-19, including two who were considered persons under investigation for the disease. Ten of the patients were on ventilators. As of Saturday, 9% of all hospitalizations in Alaska were COVID-related.

Over the last week, the state conducted 24,253 tests and saw a positivity rate of 4.33%. To date, the state has conducted 1,245,063 tests. During the same time period, the Kenai Peninsula Borough conducted 1,004 tests and saw a positivity rate of 5.78%. To date, the borough has conducted 52,735 tests.

There were 124 cases reported by the Kenai Peninsula Borough over the past week, including 13 reported on Saturday.

School risk levels

Winter break began for most Kenai Peninsula Borough School District schools on Dec. 18. School will resume on Jan. 4. Currently schools in the eastern, central and southern areas of the peninsula are operating at high-risk level.

The central peninsula is considered high risk when 52 or more cases have been reported in the region in the last 14 days. As of Saturday, 279 cases had been reported in the central peninsula over the last two weeks, meaning the region will have to lose 228 cases in order to drop back into medium-risk level.

The southern peninsula is considered high risk when 20 or more cases have been reported in the region in the last 14 days. As of Saturday, 67 cases had been reported in the southern peninsula over the last two weeks, meaning the region will have to lose 48 cases to drop back into medium-risk level.

The eastern peninsula is considered high risk when eight or more cases have been reported in the region in the last 14 days. As of Saturday, 22 cases had been reported in the eastern peninsula over the last two weeks, meaning the region will have to lose 15 cases to drop back into medium risk.

Cooper Landing School and Hope School were preventatively shifted to medium-risk level on Dec. 4 by the district in response to growing COVID-19 cases on the peninsula.

Susan B. English School, Nanwalek School and Port Graham School were open for on-site learning and operating at low-risk level at the conclusion of the academic quarter, Dec. 18.

During 100% remote learning, Get-It and Go meals are free for all students and can be picked up daily at school. 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.

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.

This information is based on data reported by Alaska’s Department of Health and Social Services between Dec. 19 and Dec. 26.

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