COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)

Statewide COVID cases continue to drop; 7 new deaths

The state has an estimated rolling average of 381.9 cases per 100,000 people over the past seven days.

The Alaska State Department of Health and Social Services announced seven more COVID-19 deaths Tuesday, pushing the total to 810 statewide deaths since the pandemic began.

They included individuals in Anchorage, Juneau, the Hoonah-Angoon/Yakutat region, and the Kusilvak Census Area.

COVID cases and hospitalizations have been trending downward statewide, but Alaska remained at a high COVID transmission alert level Tuesday — with an estimated rolling average of 381.9 cases per 100,000 people over the past seven days.

The threshold for high alert level is 100 or more cases per 100,000 people in the span of one week.

Another 362 COVID cases were announced on Tuesday. They included 11 in Soldotna, 10 in the Kenai Peninsula Borough-South, eight in Anchor Point, four in Kenai, two each in Homer, the Kenai Peninsula Borough North and Sterling, and one in Nikiski.

Statewide there were 157 COVID-related hospitalizations as of Tuesday, with 20 patients on ventilators.

On Monday, after weeks of strained conditions and overflow, Central Peninsula Hospital had fewer than 11 COVID hospitalizations and was operating at 76% capacity. To protect individuals’ identities, the hospital does not report COVID hospitalizations if the number of inpatients dips below 11.

Getting a vaccine

As of Tuesday, 54% of Alaskans 5 years and older were fully vaccinated, and another 60% had received at least one dose. In the Kenai Peninsula Borough, 46% of people 5 and older fully vaccinated and 50% with at least one shot.

Pfizer is approved for everyone 5 years and older, while the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson/Janssen vaccines are approved for anyone 18 and older.

Pfizer and Moderna boosters and additional doses are also available for certain high-risk populations. Anyone who received the single-shot J&J vaccine is recommended to get a booster of any brand.

COVID-19 vaccines do not cost money.

Soldotna Professional Pharmacy hosts a walk-in clinic in its strip mall storefront at the “Y” intersection of the Sterling and Kenai Spur highways. The clinic has extended its hours to Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Vaccination appointments can also be scheduled through the online portal PrepMod, which 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.

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.

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. The Seward Community Health Center at 417 First Avenue is offering drive-thru testing Tuesdays only. Bring a face covering and photo ID.

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 camille.botello@peninsulaclarion.com.

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