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The Covid Brief -- More testing, more masks


The incidence of Coronavirus infection around Homer has been lower so far in July than in June, when the Lower Kenai Peninsula was regularly leading the state -- outside of Anchorage -- in positive tests.
    On Thursday's Covid Brief, South Peninsula Hospital’s Derotha Ferraro spoke to the decline in positive test results.
    “It is true that we've slowed down a bit with our positive cases in the month of July, as compared to June,” Ferraro said. “June, we were really doing a lot of testing and seeing a higher positivity rate.”
    South Peninsula Hospital hosted a pop-up testing spot on the Spit Thursday in order to provide more opportunity to the public to get a test.
    “From the world of testing, that is one of the really great mitigation strategies because the more a person knows they have it, the less they're bound to spread it, because then they realize that they have the virus.”
    Ferraro urged as many people as possible to take the free tests while they’re still available, if not at a pop-up test site, then at the South Peninsula Hospital parking lot, which is open daily.
    Over the weekend, President Trump finally endorsed mask use in public, and the city of Homer is prepared for any increase in mask demand, according to city spokesperson Rachel Tussey.
    “There has been a big push for face masks and we are doing good locally. A little background, the state of Alaska put in order into the federal government for a million plain face masks. And that was approved. The company that FEMA ordered them from has been shipping them directly to every community that put a resource request in with the state. And Homer's requests just came in at the beginning of this week. So our fire department washed and bagged hundreds of masks and distributed them to Homer Saw and Cycle, Skift Chicks, and Scott's Pharmacy. So to the public: if you need a mask, go to one of those three locations and pick one up.”
    Tussey also gave a quick update on the city of Homer’s grant program for small businesses and nonprofits under the federal CARES Act, saying 211 applications have been received, with 164 being approved, and a total of $492,000 in grants being awarded so far.
    Tussey says the Homer City Council will be addressing some issues that have arisen with the S-BERG program at Monday’s council meeting. We’ll have more about that on this evening’s newscast.
    You can listen to The Covid Brief in its entirety at the link above.

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