COVID Update


Cases of COVID-19 in Alaska are on the rise and likely to increase with spring break travelers returning home this week.

According to Nurse Lorne Carroll from the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services, the State of Alaska is still experiencing widespread community transmission with many undetected cases and undetected outbreaks.  Alaska is at what DHSS classifies as a high rate of infection. 


COVID-19 vaccine is available now at several locations on the Southern Kenai Peninsula for people who qualify. Anyone over the age of 55 can get the vaccine along with essential workers of any age, people who live in multigenerational households and people who work in congregate settings.


Over 100 people made appointments for the COVID-19 vaccine on Monday, for next week's vaccination clinics at Homer High School and at South Peninsula Hospital's Test and Vaccine Site at 4120 Bartlett Street. SPH Spokesperson, Derotha Ferraro says 120 people signed up in the first two hours on Monday but there are still over 300 appointments available for eligible people and the hospital website scheduling portal is active 24 hours a day. 

Jay Barrett/KBBI

Alaskans on the Southern Kenai Peninsula who are newly eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine are waiting for healthcare providers to receive their allotment of doses for the month of March.


The next COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Homer is this Friday, February 12 at the Christian Community Church on Bartlett Street. It's mostly second dose shots for over 700 seniors, healthcare workers and other Tier 1 qualified recipients. 


Registration begins today, Tuesday February 2, for the Homer Incident Command Team's COVID-19 vaccination clinics. The clinics are scheduled for this Friday and Saturday, February 5 and 6 at the Christian Community Church on Bartlett Street in Homer.

Pat Race

The State of Alaska website currently shows no COVID-19 vaccine available in Homer, but SVT Health and Wellness Clinic is not listed on the State vaccine website. 


By all accounts, the first coronavirus inoculation for the general public in Homer, organized by the city’s Unified Command last Friday and Saturday, was a great success.
    South Peninsula Hospital’s Derotha Ferraro:
    “Wow. It went far better than I could have dreamt,” Ferraro said. “It just was pretty much (a) seamless flow and experience for both those getting vaccinated, as well as the more than a hundred folks that were working the event.”
    Ferraro said 700 appointments were made, and 200 people had been put on a waiting list.


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.