According to Nurse Lorne Carroll from the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services, the State of Alaska is still experiencing widespread community transmission with many undetected cases and undetected outbreaks. Alaska is at what DHSS classifies as a high rate of infection.
"Where we're currently at is 17.4 cases per 100,000. For the past few weeks, that's been inching up. And, in regard to the Kenai Peninsula Borough, we remain at the intermediate level and that's six or seven cases per 100,000," Nurse Carroll said.
Workers at South Peninsula Hospital's vaccine and testing site administered 292 tests in the last week . Six of those tests came back positive for a positivity rate of 2%.
Now that everyone aged 16 and over who lives or works in Alaska is eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine, appointments fill up quickly as soon as monthly allocations arrive from the State. Derotha Ferraro, Spokesperson for South Peninsula Hospital said that on Monday, 45 appointments were made available. All 45 were quickly snapped up. SPH is expecting 350 doses of the Pfizer vaccine by the end of this week. Homer Unified Command will be administering those doses at a clinic scheduled for March 27. Appointments for that clinic are not yet available.
"And the reason they're really not available is the we want to make sure to outreach to a particular group that qualifies for only the Pfizer vaccine. That is the 16 and 17 year olds. So, we'll make sure to reach out to the schools and let them know, and then we'll make all of those available on the website," said Ferraro.
As of Monday, March 15, 27% of the eligible Alaskans have received their first dose of COVID-19 vaccine, and 19% percent of the State is fully vaccinated.
"That's over 330,000 doses administered in the State. And then down here closer to home on the Southern Kenai Peninsula, roughly 33% are partially done with their vaccine and about 17% are fully vaccinated," said Nurse Carroll.
There have been zero deaths as a result of vaccination. The rate of adverse reaction to the vaccine is low, about 5 per million. Nurse Carroll sadi that all of the adverse reactions during vaccine clinics across the State have been successfully treated with epinephrine, without admission to a hospital.
Safeway Pharmacy on Sterling Highway in Homer is currently showing vaccine appointments available. You can find information and links to vaccine scheduling by going to the State of Alaska website or by going to Safeway Pharmacy's website.