Decline in case rate hits plateau

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Clallam and Jefferson counties have both reported one new death from COVID-19, bringing the total number of deaths in the Northern Olympic Peninsula to 67 since the start of the pandemic.

The Jefferson County resident was a woman in her 60s who was not vaccinated, and the death in Clallam County was a man in his 50s who was not vaccinated, said health worker Dr Allison Berry for the counties of Jefferson and Clallam.

Deaths have risen to a total of 16 in Jefferson County and 51 in Clallam County since the start of the pandemic, according to county public health data.

Meanwhile, Clallam County added 38 new cases of COVID-19 on Friday and Jefferson County added five new cases, according to public health data.

Clallam County has confirmed a total of 4,283 cases since the start of the pandemic. Jefferson County has confirmed 1,005 cases.

Clallam County’s case rate continued to decline on Friday, with the county registering 637 cases per 100,000 population in the past two weeks on Friday. The county reported 691 cases per 100,000 as of Thursday, according to public health data.

Jefferson County reports its case rate every week. His new case rate will be calculated on Monday.

Neither county updates its data on weekends.

“Granted, we’re in a much better place than a few weeks ago, but certainly 637 cases per 100,000 is way too many,” Berry said in his Friday briefing. “It is still a significant transmission and exposes us to the same type of hospital problems that we had before.”

As the case rate declined in Clallam County on Friday, health officials are starting to see a plateau, mainly due to heavy transmission in the West End and a smaller increase in Sequim, Berry said.

Transmission from the West End is in part due to the outbreak at Clallam Bay Correctional Center which has had 162 confirmed cases – with 107 inmates and 55 staff infected – and spread through the community as infected staff return home home and that the prison continue to allow visitors, who are also infected with COVID-19, Berry said.

“We see people come into the prison and then bring it back,” Berry said. The West End “is a very small, tight-knit community, and we want to do what we can to protect them.”

Berry continues to urge all residents 12 and older to get vaccinated against COVID-19 as soon as possible. The Pfizer vaccine could be approved for young people aged 5 to 11 in late October or early November, Berry said.

According to the latest data from the state Department of Health, 79.1% of the population aged 12 and over in Jefferson County have started getting vaccinated, with 75.3% fully vaccinated. Of the general population, 72.7% have started vaccination and 69.2% are fully vaccinated, according to the state dashboard.

In Clallam County, 71.9% of the population aged 12 and over have started getting vaccinated, with 66.4% fully vaccinated. Of the total population, 63.8% have started vaccinations, with 59% fully vaccinated, according to the state scorecard.

As of early February in Clallam County, 17.7% of newly reported cases are in fully vaccinated residents, meaning 82.3% of reported cases are in unvaccinated residents, according to county data.

During the same period in Jefferson County, 25.79% of new cases reported were in fully vaccinated residents, meaning 74.21% of reported cases were in unvaccinated residents, according to county data.

Both counties have scheduled booster clinics this month for eligible high-risk residents who have received the Pfizer vaccine.

At least six months after completing the Pfizer primary immunization series, people 65 years of age and older, those 18 years of age and older living in a long-term care facility, and those 50 to 64 years of age with medical conditions under -jacent or at increased risk of social inequalities could receive a Pfizer vaccine dose booster, officials said.

In addition, people aged 18 to 49 with underlying health conditions and those aged 18 to 64 who are at higher risk of exposure and transmission to COVID-19 due to their work or institutional environment – and who completed a Pfizer vaccine series at least six months ago – may receive a Pfizer booster dose, officials said.

Eligible residents of Jefferson County can sign up to receive a reminder on the Jefferson County Public Health website, https://jeffersoncountypublichealth.org/1429/COVID-19, or by calling 360-344- 9791.

Pfizer booster clinics will run from 9 a.m. to noon and 1 to 4 p.m. on three consecutive Saturdays in October.

They are:

• October 9, Chimacum School District Mixed Use Building, 91 W. Valley Road.

• October 16, Blue Heron Middle School, 3939 San Juan Ave., Port Townsend.

• October 23, Quilcene School, 294715 US Highway 101, Quilcene.

Vaccination records must be brought to appointments.

Clallam County Emergency Management and Public Health Services have scheduled booster dose clinics on October 16 and 17. However, the October 17 appointments will only be open when the previous day’s appointments are full.

Clinics will be at Port Angeles High School and registration will be on the Clallam County website, www.clallam.net/Coronavirus. Those without internet access can call the county emergency management department at 360-417-2430 for assistance.

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Jefferson County reporter Zach Jablonski can be reached at 360-385-2335, ext. 5, or at [email protected]



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