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Local Positivity Rate Holds Steady


Residents of Homer are experiencing long-COVID symptoms amid steady COVID-19 transmission levels.

Derotha Ferraro, spokesperson for South Peninsula Hospital, said on Thursday’s COVID brief that hospital admissions for COVID-19 remain relatively consistent for the Kenai Peninsula when compared to previous weeks.

Ferraro said for the week ending August 9, there were 12 visits to the SPH emergency room and two new hospital admissions related to COVID-19.

After conducting 280 tests, SPH reported, 57 produced a positive result, setting the local positivity rate at around 20 percent, down from the previous week's 22 percent.

Some local instances are cases of long COVID — defined by the World Health Organization as cases with symptoms that last three months from the onset of the virus.

Dr. Jeffery Demain is the founder of the Allergy, Asthma & Immunology Center of Alaska. He said symptoms of long COVID can range from fatigue to respiratory and gastrointestinal distress.

“There's 200 symptoms that have been identified that could be associated with long COVID. So it's now based on clinical definition. There's not a test, other than the fact that you've had a confirmed positive. And in some patients that may have been asymptomatic that never took a test, we can do an antibody test to see if indeed you had a natural infection with COVID,” Demain said.

Demain said there is no specific long COVID medication. However, he says it is possible to treat individual symptoms using what he called “multidisciplinary management."

“You're going to primarily be addressing symptoms, you're not going to be addressing a cure that is a broad treatment for all long COVID. That said, it's not that we don't have approaches,” Demain said.

He notes that someone with long COVID is likely to have one or more of the three common symptoms related to three different organ systems in the body — including heart difficulties that necessitate a visit to a cardiologist, sleep troubles that require medication, or gastrointestinal symptoms, all of which could be addressed directly.

To hear KBBI’s full COVID Brief, click here, or find the COVID Brief podcast on your favorite app.

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Simon Lopez is a long time listener of KBBI Homer. He values Kachemak Bay’s beauty and its overall health. Simon is community oriented and enjoys being involved in building and maintaining an informed and proactive community.
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