Authorities continue to monitor COVID-19 outbreaks at long-term-care facilities

Public health authorities continue to monitor long-term-care facility outbreaks of COVID-19, said Dr. Allison Berry, health officer for Jefferson and Clallam counties.

The facility in Clallam County had its first round of testing returned with no new cases; if a second round of testing this week also has no new cases, the outbreak will be considered closed, the health officer said.

The Jefferson County outbreak did not have any new cases reported Friday; however it reported new cases earlier in the week.

An outbreak has to have two weeks without a new case to be considered closed.

Berry doesn’t identify facilities with outbreaks so long as the health department is able to conduct contact tracing.

The Jefferson County outbreak has had a total of 15 cases so far, with 13 residents and two staff members infected, while Clallam County’s outbreak has had 42 cases so far, Berry said.

The Clallam County outbreak has been active for about a month, Berry said.

“We’re hopeful about that one,” she said. “A lot of the residents had received boosters and we also were able to deliver monoclonal antibodies and those two factors seem to be playing a pretty large role in reducing transmission and mortality in the outbreak.

“Now that the (vaccination mandate) is in effect, the vast majority of staff are vaccinated, so we see much less spread among staff as well. “

The Jefferson County facility is conducting another round of testing between Saturday and today, Berry said.

“That one is definitely ongoing,” Berry said. “There were a couple new cases this week.

“We’ll be monitoring the results of that testing and working with staff to reduce any further transmission.”

Officials are concerned that they will see an increase in cases after holiday gatherings.

There has been a small increase in vaccinations across the North Olympic Peninsula over the last few weeks, primarily attributed to the rise in children 5- to 11-years-old getting their first doses of Pfizer’s or Moderna’s vaccines, Berry said.

As of Friday, about 24 percent of children 5- to 11-years-old have received one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine in Jefferson County, while about 12 percent of that age group have started vaccinations in Clallam County, Berry said.

According to the latest data from the state Department of Health, 82.5 percent of the population 12 and older in Jefferson County have started vaccinations, with 78.3 percent fully vaccinated.

Of the entire population, 75.8 percent have begun vaccination and 72 percent are fully vaccinated, according to the state’s dashboard.

In Clallam County, 76.7 percent of the population 12 and older have started vaccinations, with 71.8 percent fully vaccinated.

Of the total population, 68.1 percent have begun vaccinations, with 63.8 percent fully vaccinated, according to the state’s dashboard.

Officials have not updated new case numbers or case rates since Wednesday due to the Thanksgiving holiday and will update them on Monday.

As of Wednesday, Jefferson County had a total of 1,254 cases since the pandemic began. Clallam County has confirmed 5,170 cases.

No new deaths were reported on Friday. Clallam County has had 69 deaths since the pandemic began; Jefferson County has had 18 deaths.

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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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