Petersburg Medical Center’s long term care unit is in the thick of its largest COVID-19 outbreak yet, according to Helen Boggs, the Center’s long term care manager. She reported on the upsurge in cases at the PMC board meeting on February 23rd.

“We have eight positive residents currently and a few staff members,” said Boggs. “So we’re working through that.”

PMC’s long term care unit helps meet the needs of elderly residents who cannot care for themselves for long periods of time. According to the Center for Disease Control, people over the age of 60 have an increased risk of becoming severely ill from COVID-19. 

But Boggs says the long term care residents are faring well. She says preventative medications, like Paxlovid and Remdesivir, helped protect them from dangerous COVID. 

“Luckily, our residents are not super sick, and they’re doing fairly well,” said Boggs. “So, at this point, we’re doing okay. But we’re going through a lot of PPE and wearing N95 masks in long term care.”

But the outbreak in the long term care unit isn’t an isolated event. Phil Hofstetter is the CEO of Petersburg Medical Center. He says hospital staff are witnessing a spike in cases across Petersburg. 

“COVID is making the rounds again,” said Hofstetter. “It’s rearing its head, certainly. We’re dealing with it in the facility, it’s in schools and in the community as well.”

According to the latest update from the Alaska Department of Health, COVID is still being transmitted across the state. There isn’t a clear statewide trend, but the report says cases spiked in larger boroughs in the second week of February. However, most Alaskan communities — including the Petersburg Borough — remain at the “low” COVID Community Level, as defined by CDC.