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Reported COVID cases on the peninsula continue to rise, while at-home tests dominate

At-home test
Riley Board
Kenai Public Health still has at-home COVID tests available for pickup at their Barnacle Way location.

The borough remains at the CDC’s highest COVID community level, where it’s been since early July.

COVID-19 cases continue to rise on the Kenai Peninsula, and have been steadily increasing since May.

There were an average of 44 new daily cases reported this week in the Kenai Peninsula Borough, according to the New York Times COVID-19 tracker. That's more than a 26% increase from the average two weeks ago.

But Kenai Public Health Nurse Tami Marsters said reported numbers don’t even begin to capture the COVID situation in the borough, because these days, so much COVID is detected through at-home tests, which are not reported to the state or included in those counts.

Kenai Public Health still offers free at-home tests. Marsters said for the last month or so, they’ve been giving out about 40 tests a day.

Marsters attributed the rising cases to high levels of travel to the area, in the midst of fishing season. Marsters said that Kenai Public Health has gotten lots of calls from out-of-towners who have tested positive while visiting the area and aren’t sure what to do.

She had advice for anyone traveling: if you’re going to be on a plane or a bus, wear a mask. And in general, she said staying home if you’re sick is the best way to stop the spread.

Riley Board is a Report For America reporter covering rural communities on the central Kenai Peninsula for KDLL.