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Covid Positivity Rate in Homer 19 Percent

A computer rendering of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.
Radoslav Zilinsky
Getty Images
A computer rendering of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.

Fortunately hospitalizations not rising at same rate.

There was a glimmer of good news on the Covid Brief Thursday morning. While Covid-19 cases, driven by the Omicron variant, continue to rise in Alaska, hospitalizations are trailing infections, indicating a less severe infection.

“We are not seeing hospitalization rates the same way that we were in Delta,” Ferraro said.

South Peninsula Hospital’s Derotha Ferraro.

“For the most part we have zero to one patient at any given time hospitalized with covid right now, and our weekly, each week we have one, maybe two new admits. But folks don't seem to stay as long, they're treated and, and released in a timely fashion,” Ferraro said.

Alaska Public Health Nurse Lorne Carroll said U.S. infections as a whole are following patterns Omicron has taken elsewhere.

“So this whole Omicron Spike, or the fourth wave, started in the UK around the middle of November, and we're seeing a downturn in the UK right now. And here in the US we started our Omicron uptick at about the same time, that's the middle of November, and we're starting to see what may be a downturn in the US as a whole, and that kind of started the middle of January,” Carrol said.

Still, the local infection rate for tests conducted at SPH has been 19 percent for two weeks now. Carroll said the state of Alaska has decided not to report daily infection rates due to the proliferation of at-home tests not being counted, potentially skewing the results. Carroll said the change in reporting that one figure should not affect overall reporting of the state’s covid situation.

“We still have the other metrics that help to paint the picture of how’s Covid going in our state, nation and globally. So the other metrics that were still actively using, in my mind, still paint a really good picture that answers the question, how are we doing, and that feeds what should I do or what should my organization do? Carrol said.

Kenai Peninsula Borough School District spokesperson Pegge Erkeneff reported that local schools are also seeing an Omicron surge.

“Right now we, like everybody else, are responding to just this rapid increase. but we also are seeing people that are not seeing, being as symptomatic and so that's a positive. So we have the protocols in place I talked about last week, right now, that if somebody does test positive if their symptoms are resolved for 24 hours, or they had no symptoms on day six after that test they can return to work or school wearing a face covering,” Erkeneff said.

Ferraro said that South Peninsula Hospital has replenished its supply of at-home Covid antigen tests, and Carroll reminded folks that there are free drive-up tests available through 4 o’clock tomorrow this afternoon in the parking lot of the Public Health Center in Old Town Homer.

Jay Barrett, KBBI's new News Director should be a familiar voice to our listeners. He's been contributing to Kenai Peninsula news for the last three years out of KDLL Kenai, and was the voice of The Alaska Fisheries Report from KMXT for 12 years. Jay worked for KBBI about 20 years ago as the Central Peninsula Reporter at KDLL.