South Peninsula Hospital

The weekly Covid-19 Brief with Kathleen Gustafson, with guests Jenny Carrol of the City of Homer, Derotha Ferraro of South Peninsula Hospital, Mark Kirko of the Homer Volunteer Fire Department, and Lorne Carroll of the Homer Public Health Clinic.


Kathleen Gustafson KBBI

On Friday Kenai Peninsula Borough Mayor Charlie Pierce released an open letter to the public that he sent to Governor Mike Dunleavy requesting he return Alaskans to work as soon as possible.
    Pierce called for COVID-19 testing for all Alaskans immediately, saying it was overdue, adding that waiting for the virus to pass would be devastating. He suggested residents who are sick or in a high risk group should stay home, while those who can work safely, do so.

Keep spread out while biking or running outdoors

Apr 21, 2020
Catriona Reynolds

The ice is gone from the beaches of Kachemak Bay and the bike trails are clear, so with the decent weather over the weekend, scores, if not hundreds of people, practiced their social distancing outside.
    No, these weren’t like the scofflaws seen brandishing assault rifles on the steps of the Michigan Capitol or sun worshipers on the beaches of Miami. Alaskans were encouraged by Governor Mike Dunleavy to take advantage of the state’s great outdoors while social distancing.


Homer Mayor Ken Castner was an early adopter of a Covid-19 public health emergency last month when the pandemic started to threaten Alaska. By adopting an emergency declaration, the City of Homer activated its Emergency Operations Center, which has been actively coordinating the city’s, the South Peninsula Hospital and the Public Health Clinic’s response.
    The declaration shut down city hall, and put Castner on the phone a lot.

On Thursday morning’s Covid Update with Kathleen Gustafson, there was news of several changes to our collective hunkered-down condition. First and foremost, the criteria needed for testing of the novel coronavirus has expanded, and tests have become more widely available.
    South Peninsula Hospital’s Derotha Ferraro explains.

City of Homer

Each Thursday during the Covid-19 crisis KBBI brings you leaders from the Homer Emergency Operations Center to update us on the current status of the pandemic in Homer. It is hosted by Kathleen Gustafson.


KBBI: You are tuned to the Thursday morning COVID-19 brief. On the line from South Peninsula Hospital is Derotha Ferraro, Jenny Carroll from the City of Homer, Public Health Nurse Lorne Carroll and Chief Kirko.

Good mornings were exchanged by everybody. 

City Manager applicants flooding in this go-'round

Apr 14, 2020
City of Homer

The Homer City Council held its second meeting under the new conventions of social distancing last night, with council members attending remotely. And while the Zoom connection proved much clearer, there was one glitch that came out of nowhere to begin the Committee of the Whole meeting at 5 p.m. when Mayor Ken Castner tried to begin.
     “Any objection…,” the mayor began before being interrupted.
     “No. I can't hear you,” a man with a Posh accent said. “Yeah, no. Yeah. Hello? Hello, Hello, just a second. Hello?”

Monday night Covid-19 update

Apr 14, 2020

   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.

In this age of Covid-19, even decisions made by the Homer Foundation are taking the pandemic into consideration. The organization last week announced the grants awarded through the City of Homer’s Grant Program to the 13 local nonprofits that applied this year, totaling $39,500.
    While the amount is about $4,000 less than the 20-year average, it is in line with recent years’ grants, according to Homer Foundation Executive Director Mike Miller.

South Peninsula Hospital

Elective surgeries at South Peninsula Hospital are on hold while the hospital prepares it’s response to COVID-19. That has left certified registered nurse anesthetist, Robert Austin with some time on his hands. He’s using that time to serve as the resident SPH PPE Guru, he says. 

Holy Week in Homer finds pews empty

Apr 9, 2020
St. John the Baptist

It’s Holy Week for Homer’s Christians, a time when even casual church-goers traditionally make a point to attend Easter Services. But of course this year, churches are closed and gatherings are banned by state order.
    Father Jaime Mencias is the administrator at St. John the Baptist Catholic Church in Homer.
    “It's very sad. For my experiences, it's very sad. Before this pandemic we are discouraged to celebrate private mass,” Mencias said. “But now for the sake of the people we are encouraged to celebrate private mass. Offer it for all the people.”

Covid-19 Update from Homer Unified Command

Apr 9, 2020


    On this morning’s KBBI Covid-19 Update with Kathleen Gustafson, members of the Homer Unified Command phoned in with reports from their various sectors.

    Derotha Ferraro of South Peninsula Hospital talked about how the hospital has reconfigured itself in preparation for mass testing and admissions.

Alaska Division of Forestry

The Alaska Division of Forestry will suspend all burn permits – both small- and large-scale – effective at midnight on April 30.
    The use of burn barrels, the burning of debris piles, and any other outdoor burning activity authorized under previously issued permits will be prohibited on all state, private and municipal lands throughout Alaska as of May 1, in anticipation of the impacts of COVID-19 on Alaska’s wildland firefighting resources this summer.

Alice's Champagne Palace

As people in Homer continue to hunker down, some are looking for different options for grocery shopping. Both Save-U-More and Safeway have shopping services with delivery to the curbside or your door. Now, an unexpected business has joined them in that space: Alice’s Champagne Palace.
    Josh Tobin is the general manager at the downtown eatery better known for food, drink and entertainment.

    An Anchor Point man has succumbed to the coronavirus. The death, in a middle-aged man out of state, occurred on Wednesday (March 29), but not reported until Saturday. His name and location at the time of his death were not released.

    In the announcement from the State Department of Health and Social Services, it says the man developed symptoms and subsequently died of Covid-19 while out of state. 

    Meanwhile, the City of Seward has confirmed its third positive test for Covid-19.