By Gordon Leggett - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0,

A crew member aboard the Alaska Marine Highway System Ferry Tustumena tested positive for COVID-19 Saturday in Dutch Harbor, causing the Department of Transportation to recall the vessel to Homer and bypassing scheduled stops along the Alaska Peninsula and Kodiak. 

Shawn Gottfried/KBBI

As Covid-19 tests become more widely available, health organizations have been gearing up to increase the number of people they are administered to.
    Already South Peninsula Hospital is taking test swabs 24 hours a day in the hospital’s main parking lot, and this week opened a testing site with limited hours on the Homer Spit.

State of Alaska

The Homer COVID-19 Incident Command Team welcomes epidemiologist, Dr. Michelle Rothoff and Chief Medical Officer for the State of Alaska, Dr. Anne Zink to the panel to take questions from the listeners.

Also, Jenny Carroll, Comminucations Officer for the City of Homer goes over the updated State quarantine and testing mandates for travelers.

And, DHSS Public Health Nurse Lorne Carroll and Derotha Ferraro from South Peninsula Hospital respond to the listeners and provide local updates and perspectives.



Business and offices all over the Peninsula are reopening after months of mandated closures. Jenny Carroll, Communications Officer for the City of Homer says the City is not quite ready to open City Hall. She says they are putting safeguards in place to make sure the public can safely access City services and meetings.

“Well, we are making a plan where eventually in the next week or two, we'll be open at least upstairs in the main entrance of city hall and then downstairs in the clerks area, that public reception area and in Cowles Chamber,” said Carroll.


The State of Alaska reported 27 new cases of COVID-19 yesterday -- the largest single day increase since the pandemic struck the state. The report came about a week after the busy Memorial Day weekend and the announcement by the governor that businesses could open wider.
    The Alaska Department of Health and Social Services announced that of the 27 new cases reported Sunday, 10 of 12 reported in Anchorage were at a long term care facility.


Jenny Carroll, Information Officer for the City of Homer, Nurse Lorne Carroll from the Homer Public Health Clinic, and Derotha Ferraro of South Peninsula Hospital discuss the latest from the Homer Unified Command and answer listener questions about the 5 new cases of COVID-19  detected through tests conducted at SPH.

For updated, local, state and national information about COVID-19, go


Thursday CBrief 200528

Five new COVID-19 cases break out locally

May 28, 2020

There were 13 new cases of Covid-19 reported in Alaska Thursday, with seven of them on the Kenai Peninsula. Five of those positive results were from residents of the Southern Kenai Peninsula. Derotha Ferraro said four people with symptoms were tested at South Peninsula Hospital, while Laurel Hilts said SVT Health & Wellness was notified by the state that one of its test samples came back positive from someone who was not showing symptoms, but was getting a pre-surgery screening.

Council begins process to accept CARES Act money

May 27, 2020
City of Homer

Last week the Alaska State Legislature met briefly to appropriate CARES Act funds, the federal pass-through money approved by congress to help alleviate the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, and last night, the Homer City Council met to take the first step to accept its nearly $8 million portion of those funds.
    In introducing the ordinance accepting the funds, the city is taking responsibility for their proper use, prompting Council member Rachel Lord to suggest a substitute.

Fifth COVID-19 case identifed in Homer

May 17, 2020

    A fifth case of COVID-19 has been identified in the Homer area, according to the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services. It was one of four new cases in Alaskans announced over the weekend. The others were in Anchorage, Chugiak, and the Bethel area.

The new cases do not

Hospitals not profiting from COVID-19 deaths

May 15, 2020
Rep. Sarah Vance

After an older Anchor Point man, reportedly with underlying health problems, was admitted to South Peninsula Hospital in Homer about two weeks ago, he was tested for the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 and was found to be positive. The man, whose name was not officially released, subsequently died on May 6, and his death was reported in that day’s State of Alaska COVID-19 figures.

“So yeah, South Peninsula Hospital is doing COVID-19 testing on all patients that are admitted.” ~ Derotha Ferraro


Jenny Carroll, Information Officer for the City of Homer, Nurse Lorne Carroll from the Homer Public Health Clinic, Derotha Ferraro of South Peninsula Hospital, and Homer Fire and EMS Chief Mark Kirko discuss the latest from the Homer Unified Command and answer listener questions every Thursday at 9 a.m. If you have questions for the panel, email them to


Part I


At Monday night's Homer City Council meeting, the Emergency Operations Center's weekly report opened with state public health nurse, Lorne Carroll addressing the question of how COVID-19 deaths are identified and classified.

“ Per national guidance, COVID-19 should be reported on a death certificate for those who have passed, where the disease is assumed to have had a cause, or contributed to a death. So, that's according to the attending physicians’ best judgement,” said Nurse Carroll.


While the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District prepares to stage a completely new kind of graduation ceremony, one graduating senior has a few words for her fellow students.

The views expressed in this commentary do not necessarily reflect those of KBBI’s staff board or volunteers.

If you would like to respond to this commentary or offer comment on any subject of local interest, email

For a complete list of graduation ceremonies and activities, go to

Oliver Propst original link, archived_link File on Commons (geohack)

Student life changed dramatically this semester. There was no preparation or adjustment period. After spring break, schools closed, classes changed, new habits had to form. On this episode of Coffee Table, three local seniors and one school counselor talk, from a safe distance over the phone, with KBBI's Kathleen Gustafson.

Treatment Plant Operator Magazine

Knowing how many people in Homer have COVID-19 is crucial to safely opening up business on the peninsula. With narrow parameters for who can be tested and an initial scramble for test kits and protective equipment, local health care providers have only been able to determine so much.  KBBI's Kathleen Gustafson has the story on the city of Homer's efforts to detect COVID-19 in wastewater.