New cases on central peninsula but no new hospitalizations

Oct 5, 2020

Despite rising COVID-19 rates, the Central Peninsula Hospital has seen few cases come through its doors.
Credit Central Peninsula Hospital

Alaska’s coronavirus rates are surging.

The Alaska daily total for new resident cases yesterday was 142, one of the highest since March, and the state’s 14-day average has been peaking, per data from the state Department of Health and Social Services. The week of Sept. 27 to Oct. 4, the state saw six reported deaths from COVID-19. Anchorage and Fairbanks currently have the highest number of cases.

Rates on the Kenai Peninsula are lower, though there are still 96 active resident cases on the peninsula. As of Monday, there were two new coronavirus cases on the peninsula — one in Kenai and one in Soldotna. 

Of the active resident cases, 27 are in Kenai, 22 are in Soldotna and 17 are in Homer. There are also six cases in Sterling, five in Seward and two in Nikiski.

There are 77 active nonresident cases.

Per data on the DHSS website, the positivity rate for testing in the borough is 1.8 percent. There have been over 20,000 tests conducted within the borough so far.

Despite rising rates, the Central Peninsula Hospital has seen few COVID-19 cases come through its doors.

“There recently was an uptick here on the Kenai Peninsula, more on the central part. But so far, as far as the hospital goes, we haven’t seen any of those cases,” said Bruce Richards, the hospital’s director of external affairs. He says the hospital is continuing to be vigilant through precautions, like limiting in-hospital visitation.

“You can have one adult visitor, 18 years or older, per pediatric patient. Same for a patient who’s in labor and delivery, they can have their birth partner or one adult coming in for the delivery,” he said. “For outpatient visitors, it’s the same thing. You can bring somebody with you. And of course, all these people that are coming would need to be screened at the front before you come in and would always have to wear a mask when you were in the hospital.”

For patients in end-of-life care, Richards says visitation policies are decided on a case-by-case basis.

COVID-19 rates on the central peninsula continue to fall within the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District’s “low-risk” classification, meaning there are fewer than 25 new cases in a 14-day period.

Pegge Erkeneff, the district’s director of communications, says she is not aware of any new COVID-19 cases at schools in Kenai or Soldotna since the district announced a case at Soldotna High School in September.