COVID Update


On Monday afternoon, the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services Vaccine Allocation Advisory Committee heard public comment on the COVID-19 vaccine distribution.

It only took a few days for South Peninsula Hospital to distribute its share of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine. According to hospital spokesperson Derotha Ferraro. All the residents at SPH long term care and most of the healthcare workers in the hospital have been vaccinated with dose one of the two dose regimen. The hospital was scheduled to receive 215 vials of dose one. The State only delivered 180 vials to SPH, but with extra vaccine left in the vials, the hospital was able to vaccinate everyone on their list.


Nurse Lorne Carroll led off the Homer, COVID Incident Command Team's report to Homer City Council at Monday night's meeting. He says, as of Sunday night, the State of Alaska has 62,000 doses of COVID vaccine to distribute.

"...or if you do the quick math that's about 8.5% of the population. And this vaccine is going to be a two dose series so the federal govenrment is holding on to another 62,000 for those initial 62,000 Alaskans to get their second dose when appropriate,"
said Nurse Carroll.


The first shipments of COVID-19 vaccine are expected in Homer within the next two weeks. Derotha Ferraro, spokesperson for South Peninsula Hospital says, vaccines and the protective equipment for administering them are on the way from the State of Alaska.

"When the vaccine arrives for the healthcare employees as well as residents of long-term care, the shipment contains all the PPE for safe dispensing of the vaccine. So, we will not have to use any of our gloves or masks or anything," said Ferraro.


As of Monday afternoon, there were 101 new COVID-19 cases identified in the last 7 days on the Southern Kenai Peninsula. Many of those through testing at South Peninsula Hospital.

Hospital tests marked an over 8% positivity rate for the week. The total number of cases
identified through SPH, to date, is 370.


At last night's Homer City Council meeting, Homer's COVID Incident Command Team delivered their regular report to the Council. Christine Anderson, representing South Peninsula Hospital, spoke of five COVID patient admissions to SPH over the last two weeks, ten COVID-related emergency room visits over the last two weeks and, she said, about 20 clinic visits from COVID positive patients.


COVID-19 cases on the southern Kenai Peninsula are escalating. The State of Alaska is reporting over 1,600 cases on the  Peninsula right now, but that number lags days behind the current local totals. Positive cases are growing so rapidly that the State can't keep up. Derotha Ferraro, spokesperson for South Peninsula Hospital says the hospital recently saw its first hospitalized COVID patients  since June.


The number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Alaska is rapidly rising, just at the time that the City of Homer's emergency order is set to expire. According to Homer Mayor, Ken Castner, Governor Dunleavy told a meeting of mayors on Thursday, October 22, that he intends to let the State's emergency order expire on November 15. Since that call, Alaska case counts have escalated and Governor Dunleavy is scheduled to make a public statement Tuesday afternoon. 


Homer's COVID -19 Incident Command addressed Homer City Council during Monday's meeting.

Nurse Lorne Carroll told the Council that of the three public health nurses on the Southern Peninsula, oneis completely dedicated to contact tracing and his own time is over 90 percent occupied by contact tracing.


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.