The Alaska Department of Health and Social Services announced on Wednesday 108 new cases of COVID-19, of which 105 are residents. Affected communities include Anchorage with 62 cases, Fairbanks with 13 cases, Bethel Census area with four cases, Northwest Arctic Borough with three cases, Palmer with three cases, Utqiagvik with three cases, Sitka with three cases, Kodiak with two cases, Kotzebue with two cases, Nome Census Area with two cases, Juneau with two cases and one each in Homer, Soldotna, North Pole, Tok, Wasilla and Douglas.
Two nonresident cases were confirmed in Anchorage and one new nonresident case was reported in Fairbanks. The new cases bring Alaska’s statewide total to 8,780, including 7,824 resident cases and 956 resident cases.
The statewide alert level, based on the average daily case rate for the last two weeks, is high.
The state reported no new deaths yesterday. To date, 293 people have been hospitalized due to COVID-19 in Alaska and 56 people have died. Currently, there are 53 people hospitalized because of COVID-19, including 20 who are considered persons under investigation for the disease. Seven of the patients are on ventilators.
The average daily positivity rate in Alaska for the past seven days, during which 13,609 tests were conducted, is 2.87%. To date, 457,207 tests have been conducted in Alaska. Over the past week, the Kenai Peninsula Borough conducted 713 tests and saw a .28% positivity rate, according to DHSS’ Coronavirus Response Hub.
Locally, South Peninsula Hospital has conducted 9,432 tests with 9,205 negative, 114 positive and 113 pending results. Additionally, Central Peninsula Hospital has conducted 5,875 tests with 5,637 negative, 122 positive and 112 pending results.
Statewide 4,057 people have recovered from COVID-19.
School 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 one resident case reported by the state Wednesday for a total of 16 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 one resident case reported by the state Wednesday for a total of six 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.
Eastern Peninsula — Medium Risk: The eastern peninsula, or Seward, had no resident cases reported by the state Wednesday for a total of five 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.
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 continues to be available from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily at South Peninsula Hospital’s main entrance 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.