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COVID-19 Update: Janssen vaccine is back in use as case rates rise on the Kenai Peninsula


At Monday night's Homer City Council meeting, Unified Command made their report to Council amid an uptick in cases statewide and in the Kenai Peninsula Borough.

For the latest vaccine and testing information, go to South Peninsula Hospital's website.

Derotha Ferraro, spokesperson for South Peninsula Hospital told council that SPH has administered 819 COVID-19 tests in the last two weeks, and 14 of them came back positive. 

"So that puts our testing site at a 1.7 positivity rate. The Borough's positivity rate is 3.5%," said Ferraro.

Ferraro said there have been no hospitalizations at SPH in the last six weeks and only one staff member is currently out of work with COVID.

Public Health Nurse Lorne Carroll said Alaska Department of Health and Social Services data currently show 329 deaths attributed to COVID-19 in the State, but that number is about to increase by 13.

" Here's a heads up. Be ready for that to bump up another 13 cases, related to a death certificate review over the course of the past four months. So we'll add six from April, two from March, four from February and one from January," said Nurse Carroll.

Carroll said case rates throughout the State for the month of April remain at about 21 positive COVID-19 cases per 100,000 people.  The Kenai Peninsula Borough, however, has seen a significant rise in its case rate.

"Kenai Peninsula Borough is sitting at about 19 and a half cases per 100,000. And that's where we're seeing an increase. If we reflected back on April 1st, we were just over 7.  So,  we went from 7 on April 1st to almost 20 cases per 100,000 currently," said Nurse Carroll.

The vaccination rate for people in the Borough is currently at about 37%. That's only a little over halfway to the State DHSS goal of 70% of the population vaccinated.

 The Center for Disease Control  suspended use of the single-dose, Janssen brand vaccine on April 12 because six women developed blood clots after receiving the vaccine. One of the women died. 

But as of this week, the CDC has now resumed use of the Janssen vaccine, recommending that women under 50 get either Pfizer or Moderna instead.  

SPH administers vaccine daily from  noon to 5 p.m. at their free walk-in clinic  in Homer. The clinic is currently using Pfizer vaccine and is now back to offering the Janssen vaccine. Safeway Pharmacy also has vaccine, as do all local health care providers. Check with your health care provider to find out about types of vaccine and available appointments.

South Peninsula Hospital's COVID Care Clinic at 4201 Bartlett Street in Homer offers free tests, every day from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. with about a two day turnaround for results. The clinic administers free vaccines from noon to 5 p.m. If you're going in for a COVID-19 test, or are coming in for vaccination, or if you just want to speak to the hospital's COVID Nurse on duty, call the  SPH COVID Line at (907) 235-0235.

Representatives from Homer's Unified Command appear live on KBBI every Thursday from  9 to 9:30 a.m. If you have any questions for the panel you can call or email during the show, or email questions ahead of time to 

COVID-19 Homer Public Health CenterSouth Peninsual HospitalCOVID 19Nurse Lorne CarrollDerotha FerarroAlaska Department of Health and Social ServicesCOVID UpdateCOVID vaccineCOVID testing
Kathleen Gustafson came to Homer in 1999 and has been involved with KBBI since 2003