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Source claims Pierce threatening School District funding over Covid procedures

Courtesy of the Kenai Peninsula Borough
Kenai Peninsula Borough

An anonymous source inside the Kenai Peninsula Borough says the borough mayor is “strong-arming” the school district and area hospitals over Covid-19 procedures, and is threatening future funding vetoes. The source requested anonymity out of fear for their job.

    During the assembly meeting on Tuesday, Mayor Charlie Pierce grilled Chief Operating Officer Shaun Keef of Central Peninsula Hospital in Soldotna over treatment given to emergency department patients. He tried to convince Keef to provide the ER doctors with the information for a Texas woman who claims to be a doctor, and who sells unproven methods for treatment online such as hydroxychloroquine or ivermectin. He claims the CPH doctors were, quote, not “willing to treat or prescribe medications” to Covid patients. 

The mayor did not mention monoclonal antibodies, a proven and effective medical infusion for those early in their illness with Covid-19, which is free.

    Now there is word that Mayor Pierce is pressuring the school district to stop conferring with either CPH or South Peninsula Hospital regarding infection rates, masking advice or anything related to Covid-19 mitigation. Pierce has spoken publicly against forcing students to wear masks during in-person classes, and the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District has made masks optional, though recommended, except for school visitors or volunteers who must be masked up.

    While there has been no response from the mayor’s office to the claims, school district spokesperson Pegge Erkeneff said the reports are unfounded. She said the school district personnel are on weekly Office of Emergency Management conference calls with the local hospitals.

    Erkeneff pointed to the district’s current, FY22 Covid Mitigation Plan, which calls for the “KPBSD Health Services Coordinator to continue to monitor daily COVID percentages, attend local and state health updates and provide professional development and training to site-based and itinerant nurses as necessary.” Erkeneff said District Nurse Melisa Miller is in contact with medical professionals throughout the district.

    Regarding threats to funding, Erkeneff said the FY22 budget has already been approved by the borough assembly.

    South Peninsula Hospital spokesperson Derotha Ferraro said she, too, was unaware of any pressure coming from the borough mayor’s office.