Monday night Covid-19 update

Apr 14, 2020

Credit PBS

   Members of the Homer Covid-19 Unified Command gave an update to the Homer City Council at the body’s regular meeting last night. Incident Commander, Homer Fire Chief Mark Kirko described the command structure and the participants, which, in addition to the city, includes the Homer Public Health Clinic and South Peninsula Hospital, and some of its capabilities.
    “We have at the ready 20 cots and complete bedding units that can be immediately put together within less than probably six hours time. If it comes to that, and that'll be a call that the hospital makes, and they will just call us if the EOC says, hey, let's set it up, and we'll do that,” he said. “We also have the ability to pull up another 20 to get them to a 40-cot system if they desire to go that direction.”
    Homer Public Health Nurse Lorne Carroll cautioned the council that Covid-19 was not going anywhere, anytime soon.
    “A quick case numbers preview for you globally we're looking at 2 million cases. And as of last week we passed the 100,000 deaths marker. In Alaska as of noon today, 227 total cases, 32 hospitalizations grand total so far. Eight deaths. And now we've had 85 of those folks of the total cases have recovered. I'm still sitting at two and Homer and one in anchor points. The grand total of 15 on the Kenai,” he said.   
    South Peninsula Hospital’s Derotha Ferarro says local testing is up to 125 as of yesterday, with turn-around taking about three- to four-days, but she says the technology is improving.
    “So of 125 total swab sent, 109 were negative, one positive, 15 pending, and the positive is from over two weeks ago. We now have an Abbott Analyzer in cartridges and are able to run rapid tests on-site. However, given the high percentage of false negatives associated with this type of test, the state only feels confident with the positive results. So we're still sending the rapid test samples to the stateful for final validation,” she said.
    Requirements for tests have loosened, so if your health provider has ordered a test, they can be done in the parking lot of the SPH’s main entrance, without you even needing to get out of your car. Call 235-0235 when you’re on you’re on the way.