Clallam and Jefferson health officials seek volunteers for COVID-19 vaccination clinics

Some vaccination clinics resuming next week

While vaccination clinics are on hold this week on the North Olympic Peninsula, officials seek more volunteers to assist with future clinics.

Both counties are working on new registration systems for vaccination appointments, with Jefferson Healthcare now having a notification system to alert people who register when appointments are available.

On Tuesday, six new COVID-19 cases were confirmed in Clallam County, while Jefferson County added three new cases, according to county public health data.

The new cases in Clallam include an additional case in the housing facility outbreak that now has six cases, and the remaining five are employees of a restaurant that is now under outbreak investigation, said Dr. Allison Berry, Clallam County health officer.

Berry and Dr. Tom Locke, Jefferson County health officer, have previously stated they will not release a location publicly if their departments are able to effectively contract trace potential exposures.

“Certainly the outbreaks have me a little worried,” Berry said. “Those can certainly increase rather quickly. That’s my biggest worry.”

Clallam officials have been continuing to prepare for more mass vaccination clinics similar to those that had been held in Sequim and Port Angeles. They are collaborating with the Jamestown S’Klallam tribe to create a new online registration site for both clinics, Berry said. That has required officials to purchase additional servers to support the expected web traffic and had to be programmed “from the ground up,” she added.

Once online, the system should be smoother than before, allowing appointments to be scheduled easier, she said.

Clallam County is looking for volunteers to assist with future vaccination clinics so that the current volunteers do not have to work every weekend through August (the estimated latest time to have 70 percent of the population vaccinated).

Interested individuals — both with medical licenses and without — can contact the Clallam Department of Emergency Management at 360-417-2430 or email [email protected], Berry said.

Jefferson Healthcare announced a new notification system that started Tuesday. It allows residents and Jefferson Healthcare patients over the age of 65 to register and be notified when they can make appointments for the vaccine at https://jeffersonhealthcare.org/covid-19-vaccine/, said Amy Yaley, Jefferson Healthcare spokesperson.

The hospital vaccinated more than 2,000 people last week, she said.

In addition to Jefferson Healthcare’s drive-through vaccination clinic, Locke and the Jefferson Department of Emergency Management are planning large-scale vaccination clinics in Port Townsend, Chimacum and Quilcene high school gymnasiums, Locke said.

When those clinics will be and the number who can be vaccinated is dependent on the amount of vaccine Jefferson County receives, he said.

Jefferson County Department of Emergency Management has put out a call for volunteers to staff those clinics.

Community members who have active medical licenses —such as doctors, nurses and EMTs — would help in administering vaccines. People with expired licenses are encouraged to reach out as well, as the state is working on potential work-arounds, Locke said.

Those wishing to volunteer in Jefferson County can contact emergency management at [email protected]

So far this month, Clallam County has confirmed 167 cases, about 18.4 percent of the 906 it has confirmed since March, according to Clallam County Public Health data.

Jefferson County has confirmed 66 cases of COVID-19, about 23.1 percent of the 286 it has confirmed since March, according to Jefferson County Public Health data.

Forty COVID-19 cases were active as of Tuesday in Clallam County, and two people were hospitalized with one in the Intensive Care Unit.

Jefferson County had 11 active cases.

The test positivity on the Peninsula — the percentage of tests returned positive — was 4.8 percent in Clallam County for Jan. 9-23, and 2.37 percent in Jefferson County for Jan. 18-24.

Clallam County had a case rate of 112 per 100,000 population for the two weeks prior as of Tuesday.

Jefferson County’s case rate was at about 72.10 per 100,000 for the two weeks prior as of Saturday.

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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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