Covid Brief -- Sept. 23, 2021: The Surge Continues

Sep 23, 2021

This week our panel of Alaska Public Health Nurse Lorne Carroll, school district spokesperson Pegge Erkeneff, and South Peninsula Hospital spokesperson Derotha Ferraro address the continuing surge of coronavirus.

Kenai Peninsula Borough

An anonymous source inside the Kenai Peninsula Borough says the borough mayor is “strong-arming” the school district and area hospitals over Covid-19 procedures, and is threatening future funding vetoes. The source requested anonymity out of fear for their job.


The human body’s immune system fights diseases with antibodies, but when presented with a new virus, like the novel coronavirus that causes Covid-19, it can struggle to keep up. While vaccines are designed to stimulate the body’s immune system to fight something specific, like Covid-19, they take time to reach full effectiveness. But what scientists have done is create antibodies in the lab to help lessen the impact of the disease. These are monoclonal antibodies.

    Covid-19 cases, driven by a mutation to the coronavirus that causes the disease, continue to increase in Alaska, and on the Kenai Peninsula. 

Dr. Christy Tuomi, the infection prevention lead at South Peninsula Hospital, was on Thursday morning’s Covid Brief.

School District Updates Covid-19 Mitigation Plan

Aug 13, 2021
Kenai Peninsula Borough School District

Thursday afternoon, the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District announced an updated Covid-19 mitigation plan.

    While not mandating the use of masks among students and staff, the district now “highly recommends” they do so while indoors. In addition, all visitors and school volunteers are required to wear a face covering while in a school during the academic day.

    The district reiterated the federal mandate that students wear masks while riding a school bus, either to school or activities elsewhere.


On Wednesday, the Alaska Department of Health announced another death of an Alaska resident as a result of Covid-19, as well as 338 new people identified with the virus. There have been just over 73,500 positive resident cases in Alaska, with 1,738 Alaska resident hospitalizations and 385 resident deaths since the pandemic reached Alaska nearly a year-and-a-half ago.
    While many areas of the country, especially in Texas and Florida, are seeing multiple deaths per day due to Covid, Alaska has kept its average to less than one a day.


This week on the Coffee Table, host Jay Barrett talks with Alaska Public Health Nurse Lorne Carroll of Homer about the Covid-19 Pandemic, herd immunity, why and how variants arise, and should we feel lucky that Alaska's rates are as low as they are compared to national and international infection and death rates.

Pat Race/AK DHSS


   Alaska Department of Health and Social Services Public Health Nurse Lorne Carroll and Derotha Ferraro from South Peninsula Hospital join KBBI's Kathleen Gustafson to answer questions from the listeners and give an update on COVID positivity rates, vaccination rates and mitigation against the Delta variant.

AK DHSS says to expect and prepare for rapidly increasing incidence of COVID-19 in the community.


Click on the audio for this Back to School edition of Coffee Table.

Join host, Kathleen Gustafson and guests:

Pegge Erkeneff ; Spokesperson for Kenai Peninsula Borough School District


Alaska Department of Health and Social Services Public Health Nurse Lorne Carroll says to expect and prepare for the increase of COVID in the community.

Nurse Carroll explains the Delta variant of the virus, which is circulating now, can be more than twice as contagious as the original.


COVID-19 positivity rates continue to climb and demand for tests at South Peninsula Hospital's Vaccine and Test Site has more than tripled in the last 7 days. KBBI's Kathleen  Gustafson has this update.


COVID-19 case numbers are surging upward in the state causing the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services to put Alaska back in High Alert status. KBBI's Kathleen Gustafson has the story.



This week on the final, scheduled, COVID-19 Brief, Nurse Lorne Carroll from the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services and Derotha Ferraro, spokesperson for South Peninsulia Hospital take questions from the listeners about the rise in case rates, and the stagnation of vaccination rates.



The Alaska Department of Health and Social Services' Monday data summary covering July 9 through 11 show 174 new cases of COVID-19, four new hospitalizations and two new deaths due to COVID in AK.

There are 1,643 resident hospitalizations and 374 resident deaths attributed to COVID-19 to date.

The statewide alert level for COVID in Alaska is intermediate, at  6.37 cases per 100,000 in population.


This week on the COVID Brief, Nurse Lorne Carroll for the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services and Derotha Ferraro, spokesperson for South Peninsulia Hospital take questions from the listeners about current case rates and vaccination rates, and about  preparing for the upcoming school year.