Mask use up as infection rate slows

Aug 13, 2020

Credit City of Homer

Homer Mayor Ken Castner commented during Monday night’s city council meeting how pleased he was that he was seeing more people around the city wearing face masks. It coincides with a slowing of infection rate locally and around the state.
     “I really want to give my appreciation to the community for the increased use of masks. It's been really noticeable. And I appreciate the tolerance that people are exhibiting, because it's become a lot less edgy and a lot more acceptable,” Castner said. “And I hope that that trend continues.”
    Homer Fire Chief Mark Kirko, who is the head of the city’s Emergency Operations Center and the city’s coronavirus response, reported increasing difficulty in securing personal protective equipment.
      “We're running into some very significant issues of typical vendors, not even allowing us to place orders, due to the backlog of requests that they're getting nationally. So, with that, I've been this week in communications with the State's EOC, at the state level and putting in requests for some of our PPE at the state level. And, with some frustrations there, having to channel now all of our City of Homer EOC topics through the borough, I was a little discouraged at that finding that just adds another layer to that already taxed process.”
    City Public Information Officer Rachel Tussey reported updates to the city’s Covid-19 information pages.
       “As a chief said, DHSS rolled out  significant updates to their Covid data dashboard, providing more options on how to access and view their data in chart and graph form,” Tussey said. “Also the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District has all of their reopening plans and their current alert levels available on their website, and so I wanted to make sure our site directed people to those resources.”
    Tussey also pointed out how busy the city’s Covid hotline still is.
      “We have taken 309 calls. There's still lots of questions related to travel, where to get tested after travel and, what Homer's mandates or restrictions are,” she said. “The state's revised travel restrictions for non-residents takes effect August 11th, that is revisions to Mandate 10. And so we've gotten a good amount of calls from out-of-state travelers doing their due diligence and calling ahead to Homer, which is their final destination, to figure out what their options are.”
    Derotha Ferraro, the spokesperson for South Peninsula Hospital, said there have been 1,000 new tests administered since the last time she updated the city council.