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COVID Update - Tuesday, April 21, 2020: Expanded testing, city playgrounds closed, trails open


As of Monday, April 20 at 5 p.m. South Peninsula Hospital has submitted 178 COVID-19 tests, 158 returned negative, 19 are still pending. Since testing began, one test has come back positive. That was three  weeks ago. That person has since been determined  to have recovered.

KBBI’s Kathleen Gustafson met, virtually, with Jenny Carroll from the City of Homer, Public Health Nurse, Lorne Carroll and Derotha Ferraro of South Peninsula Hospital for a COVID-19 Update. Ferraro begins by explaining why more people are now eligible for tests.

To access information about park closures and to find contact numbers for hospital and local health care providers, go to the Citty oh Homer’s webpage:  

Derotha Ferraro, South Peninsula Hospital:
A month ago when we started testing, supplies were very scarce and the number of tests that can be run in a lab, the numbers were small then, but now, just because of more equipment, more supplies, more training systems in place, the capacity has really increased.

Jenny Carrol: City of Homer:
So I wanted to let people know about some of the city closures. This includes Karen Hornaday playground. Baycrest Park, which has a playground. Ben Walter's Park playground, Jeffrey Park and Jack Gist Park playground area - because of the possibility of transmission from the play equipment.

What we do have open, all of our trails.  Mariner Park is designated as a day-use only, and we're seeing a lot of people getting out on the low tides there. Currently we only have the Fishing Hole campground in operation. The Karen Hornaday Campground will not open until the frost goes out.

Ferraro, SPH:
When you're outside, it is recommended that you keep a greater distance. Between you and another person simply because of the air and wind traveling, as well as the heavier breathing that you might be doing if you're hiking or running. Also, I wanted to follow up on the testing. In addition to having greater capacity to test, the symptoms were expanded. The symptoms are: cough, shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, chills, diminished sense of taste or smell, diarrhea, fatigue, fever, headache, muscle, joint aches, nausea, runny nose, sore throat, phlegm. Any of those are potential symptoms of COVID-19 and so some people might say, I have a runny nose and a sore throat. That's not a big deal. Well, now that we have the capacity to test, it is a big deal in that it helps the state and our community get a feel for how much of COVID-19  is out there.

Come on in and get tested. You don't even need to leave your car. You can just call and come into the main entrance parking lot and get tested.

South Peninsula Hospital did a lot of work setting up alternate care sites and alternate testing sites. Does it look like you're not going to need those now?

Ferraro, SPH:
As of this moment, we still do not have any known COVID-19 hospitalizations in our hospital.

Both of those are still ready to go. Everything's there and ready to go if and when we need it. 

Jenny Carroll, City of Homer:
The reason why the hospital has not had to activate those alternate sites is because everybody has been doing such a great job with keeping a physical distance and working from home when you can, doing all the preventative thing to keep the numbers.

When we first started the whole work from home thing, I was thinking to myself, how am I going to accomplish this? And now it's just a part of my routine.

Ferraro, SPH:
It's not only a part of your routine right. It made a difference. People need to not lose sight of that. It might be routine, but the impact is not what's on your list today.

Public Health Nurse Lorne Carroll:
Just want to give a big thank you South Peninsula Hospital and the City of Homer and just really happy moving forward for the next few months or unknown time with these partners.

Ferraro, SPH:
Please do not hesitate to reach out for care. I understand that for several weeks we messaged to stay home, although that message is still the same. We don't want anybody to compromise on getting the care that they need.