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COVID-19 cases rise at an accelerating rate. Testing isn't just for the unvaccinated.


COVID-19 positivity rates continue to climb and demand for tests at South Peninsula Hospital's Vaccine and Test Site has more than tripled in the last 7 days. KBBI's Kathleen  Gustafson has this update.


From July 13-19,  531 test swabs administered through South Peninsula Hospital  resulted in 91 positive cases identified or a 17% positivity rate. 

That's up from about a 3% positivity rate this time last month.

On Tuesday the 20th,  158 total swabs yielded 14 positive cases of COVID-19.

SPH has hospitalized four patients so far in July for COVID, and four monoclonal antibody infusions have been administered to COVID patients this month.

The infusions are currently done in the hospital's emergency room but SPH is preparing to administer infusions outside of the hospital through home health nurses.  

Due to high COVID transmission rates, visitation is closed at South Peninsula Hospital and long term care. Exceptions include end of life, pediatrics, surgery and obstetrics patients.

Universal masking is still required at the hospital, regardless of vaccination status.

SPH spokesperson Derotha Ferraro said anyone with COVID symptoms, travel plans, pre-hospital procedures, or  possible exposure to the virus should come in for a test.

If you have visitors in your home or work with people who travel from out of state, they might not be aware that testing is readily available.

'"Testing is free and it's fast and it's for anybody, pretty much, for any reason. Because we have so many summer residents, so many visitors as well as the  14,000 of us that live here."

Ferraro said there is some vaccine breakthrough in positive cases, so even people who are vaccinated, should get tested if they show any symptoms of illness. State data show that fully vaccinated people do not show symptoms as severe as unvaccinated people. 

"A fully vaccinated person might have a runny nose or might have a headache and think - it's no big deal, I'm vaccinated. Still pay attention to your symptoms. This is not just a message for the unvaccinated," Ferraro said.

49 vaccines were administered in the last week at the COVID Vaccine and Test Site at 4201 Bartlett Street, bringing the total to: 7,969.   Statewide, 52% of Alaskans are fully vaccinated. 

Vaccines are offered daily, 9am-5pm.
Testing is offered daily, 9am-6pm.

Vaccines are also available from your family's  health care provider and from your local pharmacy.

For more information, go to the hospital website,

If you have questions about testing, vaccines or if you want to speak to the 24-hour COVID nurse on duty for any reason, call the South Peninsula Hospital COVID Careline at (907) 235-0235.

COVID-19 South Peninsual HospitalCOVID 19Derotha FerarroCOVID UpdateCOVID vaccineCOVID testing
Kathleen Gustafson came to Homer in 1999 and has been involved with KBBI since 2003