Clinic sees demand for COVID-19 testing triple
Most mornings, a line of cars snakes from the front of Capstone Clinic in Kenai, past McDonalds, spilling out onto the residential Walker Lane.
Clinics like Capstone have been seeing a growing number of people coming in for COVID-19 tests as the Delta variant has tightened its grip on the state.
Micky Boyer, director of development for the Alaska-based Capstone, said the Kenai location was testing around 50 patients a day in June.
"Right now we’re averaging 150 a day," he said. “About 45 percent of those people that are being tested are reporting active symptoms, and then 20 percent of those are reporting exposure. They’ve been exposed and they want to find out whether they have the disease or not.”
Boyer said 15 percent of the poeple getting tested are travelers. About 5 percent are people needing tests before surgeries. The clinic does not keep track of what percentage of its patients are students getting tested for school.
He said Capstone is seeing a spike in testing demands in locations around the state, too. While they generally have enough staff and supplies, he said it can be a problem when everyone’s coming in to get tested at once.
“People are coming an hour before we open just so they can be first in line," he said.
The positivity rate for the Kenai location is 15.6 percent.
As of Thursday, Central Peninsula Hospital is seeing 16 COVID-19-positive patients, including five in the ICU.
“That's lower than we’ve seen in the past few days," said spokesperson Bruce Richards. "So I’m cautiously optimistic.”
Within the last 10 days, the hospital had three COVID-19 patients die. Richards said two were women in their 70s. One was a man in his 60s.
Meanwhile, the state saw a new record today with 206 Alaskans in the hospital for COVID-19.
For a map of local COVID-19 testing sites and their hours, click here.