Covid-19 Update from Homer Unified Command

Apr 9, 2020


Credit PBS

    On this morning’s KBBI Covid-19 Update with Kathleen Gustafson, members of the Homer Unified Command phoned in with reports from their various sectors.

    Derotha Ferraro of South Peninsula Hospital talked about how the hospital has reconfigured itself in preparation for mass testing and admissions.

    “So, we do have our alternate care site set up at the Christian Community Church, though not being used. We do have our alternate testing site all ready to go. The tents, the trained staff, the cones, the signs, but not yet being used,” she said. “So we have the inpatient area up at the hospital, ready rooms are doubled up. Additional isolation rooms created a non COVID area in a different area of the hospital isolated, the birthing center isolated. So again, we've been very much getting ready.”

    She also wanted to remind listeners that just because coronavirus is dominating health news, patients should remember the hospital is there for their other needs as well.

     “So please don't think that because we have all these ads saying 'call first or don't come or this is contagious or whatever.' That doesn't mean don't take care of your health,” she said. “So please know that a lot of our providers are available on telehealth. It's a telephone call, it's a laptop computer, it's a tablet, and you can connect right with your provider. So I encourage people to go ahead and call and see if an appointment might be good for you.”

    Ferraro also mentioned that the state has revised its standards for coronavirus tests, and more people may be eligible -- even those previously turned down.

    “Last night, the State of Alaska put out new testing guidelines and really kind of added layers of testing criteria that opened it up to more individuals being able to be tested,” she said. “So I really encourage listeners if you are experiencing symptoms or previously, you were told, even with symptoms that you didn't qualify for testing, it might be worth reaching back out to your provider now that the testing criteria has changed.”

    As far as testing numbers locally and statewide, State Public Health Nurse Lorne Carroll had those figures.

    “We'll see in regards to last numbers updated yesterday at about noon. Alaska sits at 226 cases total. That's a 13 from the previous day, a grand total of 27 hospitalizations and seven deaths." he said. "Here on the Kenai Peninsula, we're still holding steady at 13. That's everywhere from Seward to Kenai clear down to the end of the road here in Homer. And Homer, we're still at two and Anchor Point at one.”

    Jenny Carroll, the city’s emergency spokesperson, updated listeners on the local face mask situation.

    “They are available for the public, for the general public. And that is a sign of how generous this community is: People are making these masks in our community,” she said, “We have Elaine Grabowski collecting them. The hospital is sterilizing them and packaging them. So when you get your mask you know it's been cleaned.”

    And the school district’s Pegge Erkineff related the latest from the KPBSD.

    “We had 1,774 students enrolled in the meal program and that means there was 3,548 meals delivered. We've been doing really well with our supply chain of getting the food that we need,” she said. “I know we were short milk for a couple days. I think everybody was.”

    The show also offered a good reminder that the City of Homer’s Covid-19 web page continues to be an excellent resource for those seeking practical information and advice on a range of coronavirus topics.

    You can find the entire Covid-19 Update linked above.