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COVID Update: Homer waits for vaccine doses, renters relief applications begin today

Jay Barrett/KBBI

Alaskans on the Southern Kenai Peninsula who are newly eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine are waiting for healthcare providers to receive their allotment of doses for the month of March.

Homer's Unified Command is working on upcoming school district vaccination clinics. Kenai Peninsula Borough School District is currently scheduling and vaccinating teachers and support staff in District employee-only clinics.

According to Derotha Ferraro, spokesperson for South Peninsula Hospital in Homer, SPH will know how many doses they're getting for the general public some time this week.

“So we asked for 3000 doses.If we do get all those, we'll do a big mass clinic as well as start offering them by appointment at some of our clinics that are hospital owned and operated. However, If history repeats itself, we probably won't get 600 doses,” Ferraro said.

The hopsital's free, drive-up, testing site at 4201 Bartlett Street in Homer administered 319 tests in the last week. Only one of those tests came back positive.

"That really shows a very slow rate of transmission, at least amongst the community members that are getting tested at the hospital.We had a great vaccine clinic this past weekend and we did 830 doses were administered,” said Ferraro.

Watch South Peninsula Hospital's website for upcoming vaccine clinic dates and registration. If you are newly eligible and have a local health care provider, contact them to find about scheduling a vaccine when they become available.

Ulmers and Safeway pharmacies in Homer are also waiting for March allotments and will administer vaccinations as the State of Alaska makes those doses available. Check the State of Alaska website for a list of available COVID-19 vaccination sites.

Today, Tuesday, applications open for a new round of rent relief checks.

Jenny Carrol, Information Officer for the City of Homer said that in the latest, federal COVID-19 relief bill that passed Congress, Alaska received $200 million in rent relief funds. The money is for renters who make no more than 80% of area median income. Borough data show a median household income for the Kenai Peninsula Borough of $66,684.

Carroll says, at least one person in the household has to be directly or indirectly, financially impacted by COVID-19.

“What does it mean to be impacted? It means you may have qualified for unemployment. Your wages may have been reduced or that you've had increased costs or financial burden in response to COVID-19.
We know that there has been an uptick in domestic violence and families separating. Those are taken into consideration in this, in this program," Carroll said.

The grants are administered by the Alaska Housing Finance Corporation.
You can find the application on their website.
or on the City of Homer website.
Applications are accepted from February 16, through March 5.

Governor Mike Dunleavy failed to extend the State's emergency declaration this week and Ferraro says, SPH does not yet know, exactly, how that will impact the hospital. She says they are waiting for the State to release new guidelines for what was formerly covered by the emergency declaration - everything from guidelines for visiting nurses, to hospital capacity and use of space.

“There are potentially dozens of, anywhere from small to large, factors that are impacted by having or not having an emergency declaration for the hospital," said Ferraro.

Members of Homer's COVID Incident Command meet on KBBI on Thursday mornings at 9 a.m.You can send questions ahead of time to