COVID Update: HERG funds, flu shots and a new testing site

Oct 6, 2020

Credit Pat Race

The City of Homer is processing applications for HERG grants, the City's household funding for COVID relief. So far, the City has recieved 56 applications and distributed about $84,000 through the program. HERG has $1.5 million dollars in the fund and the deadline for applications is Friday, October 16.

Here's Jenny Carrol, Public Information for the  City of Homer."We are accepting applications on a rolling basis and we are processing them as we go along and approving them for funding. So, the checks will be released once the individual or the household is considered eligible and the expenses they are requesting are eligible." You can get an application on the City of Homer website or at Homer City Hall on Pioneer Avenue.   South Peninsula Hospital moved it's COVID testing site. Since March, SPH has been conducting drive up testing outside the hospital entrance. As of today, Tuesday October 6, The new testing site is at 4201 Bartlett Street. Walk up testing happens 7 days a week from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.  The hospital identified three new positive cases in Homer over the weekend. Those are the first positive cases detected by the hospital in several weeks. The State of Alaska, however, has seen a dramatic uptic in cases, with over 100 COVID cases identified every day of the past two weeks. Yesterday, Monday, the State announced 194 cases, identified. 
South Peninsula Hospital Spokesperson, Derotha Ferraro says she attended a meeting held by the State's Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Anne Zink on Monday.  "In our meeting this morning, Dr. Zink was very transparent about what they seem to be seeing because of group gatherings, more indoor activity...now the job of contract tracing is becoming very big," Ferraro said. Nurse Lorne Carroll is on a team of contract tracers, he said the time to self-isolate, is as soon as symptoms appear. Don't wait for a positive test result to start protecting others from the spread of the virus.
 "We know that is is possible to transmit COVID-19 up to two days before you start having signs and symptoms. So that's the period of infectivity," Nurse Carroll said. The White House recently annouced that they will not be conducting contract tracing for an event held in the Rose Garden, an event attended by over 20 people who have since tested positive for COVID. Nurse Carroll said he hasn't experienced anything like that and he thinks  it is not likely to happen in Alaska. "In the State of Alaska, organizations, health care and non -health care, don't really have the legal right to say, "Hey, you're not going to do contract tracing here." The backbone there is an Alaska statute that supports the state and in this case the covered entity is the Department of Health and Social Services," said Nurse Carroll. According to Ferraro, self care in other areas is as important as masks in keeping COVID safe.She says State distributed flu vaccine has made it to town.  "We are planning for a flu shot event, hopefully on Friday and Saturday the 16th and 17th and SVT is planning theirs in conjunction with Rotary Health Fair on October 27th. In addition to the almost daily opportunty through your clinic or your regular health care home or provider," Ferraro said. Homer's COVID Incident Command Team takes questions from KBBI listeners, live, every Thursday morning from 9 to 9:30. If you have a question for the team, you can email it ahead of time to kathleen@kbbi.org.