JOINT NEWS RELEASE
CONFIRMED COVID-19 CASE IN THE HOMER AREA
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March 28, 2020. COH-COVID-19-006
South Peninsula Hospital was notified today by the Alaska State Public Health Laboratory of its first positive case of COVID-19. The person was tested at the hospital earlier this week. This case marks the second confirmed COVID-19 case for Homer. The first was an individual that had been traveling in the lower 48. Upon return to Anchorage, they self-reported, tested and remain there in isolation.
Public Health Nurses are already conducting an index case investigation and have started contact tracing. The Public Health Nurses will reach out to any person who may have come into contact with this individual. Public Health will notify each significant contact and offer instructions for preventing the spread of disease including quarantine, isolation if sick and contacting your primary care provider for evaluation and potential testing. No other information is available at this time.
“The first confirmed case locally reinforces the urgency for all individuals to take this seriously and do their part to prevent the spread. The individual actions of each and every one of us in Homer are important to prevent, slow and disrupt the spread of the virus, both in our community and across Alaska. Last night Governor Dunleavy issued two new health mandates aimed at stopping the rapid spread of Covid-19 in the State. The mandates are an Alaskan-style hunker down order for everyone to stop non-essential travel in and between Alaskan communities and, when you are out, to keep a 6 foot distance from others. These actions are critical to slow the spread of COVID-19 and are especially timely for everyone to follow. Together, we can keep each other healthy and save lives.” Jenny Carroll, Public Information Officer, City of Homer.
We are counting on everyone to help STOP THE SPREAD of COVID-19:
• Wash hands frequently, cover coughs and sneezes and clean frequently-touched surfaces.
• Keep at least six feet away from others. Stay home and work from home as much as possible.
• If you are sick with a respiratory infection, even with mild symptoms, isolate yourself from others and call ahead if you need medical attention.
• Follow all health mandates and guidance issued by Governor Dunleavy, DHSS, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and local governments and health authorities.
If you are sick or suspect that you may be infected with the virus that causes COVID-19, you should take steps for your health and to prevent the disease from spreading to people in your home and community by:
1. Listen to and follow the directions of your doctor and state and local authorities.
2. If you feel sick, stay home. Do not go to work. Contact your medical provider.
3. If your children are sick, keep them at home. Contact your medical provider.
4. If someone in your household has tested positive for COVID-19, separate that family member and keep the entire household at home. Many new cases of COVID-19 in the state are transmitted among family members.
5. If you have arrived in Homer from a lower-48 or international destination, you must immediately self-quarantine for 14 days. If you’ve arrived from an Alaskan destination, a 14-day self-quarantine is strongly recommended.
6. If you are a senior citizen, or a person with a serious underlying health condition, stay home and away from other people.
Testing for COVID-19 is available at South Peninsula Hospital, but only by referral from your provider. As of this morning, the hospital had submitted 42 total COVID-19 tests with 22 negative results and the remainder pending. If you are experiencing mild symptoms of illness (cough, fever, aches), the best advice is to stay home and self-isolate. This means keeping distance even from family members to help prevent the spread of the disease. The majority of persons with COVID-19 recover quickly with no complications. If you are experiencing more advanced symptoms (shortness of breath, difficulty breathing) call your provider immediately.
If you think you might have been in contact with someone with confirmed COVID-19 infection, call you primary care provider for instructions. For non-medical related questions about COVID-19, go to coronavirus.alaska.gov or dial 2-1-1 or 1-800-478-2221 to connect with a 2-1-1 call specialist who will work with you to understand your need and connect you to the programs and services that can help.
**************************************************Contact: Jenny Carroll, Public Information Officer,
907-435-3101 (office); 907-299-6645 (cell)
Outside City Clerk’s Office at City Hall
Homer Public Library & Harbormaster Office