Clallam Bay prison COVID-19 outbreak now over, official says

Clallam County woman reported to have died of virus

The COVID-19 outbreak at the Clallam Bay Corrections Center that begin in early August is over, authorities report.

It was officially at a close after more than two weeks have passed since a new COVID-19 case was confirmed.

Throughout the three months that facility experienced an outbreak, officials confirmed a combined total of 284 cases among inmates and staff, according to the state’s dashboard.

Of those, 217 were inmates and 67 were staff members.

“It is quite a relief to see that outbreak come to a close,” said Dr. Allison Berry, health officer for Clallam and Jefferson counties.

“We’re hopeful that with the requirement of vaccination of staff, and certainly some improvement in protocols around masking and safety screening, that we can prevent future outbreaks of that scale.”

Another Clallam County resident was reported on Friday as having died of COVID-19, raising the total number of deaths in the county to 69 and 86 for the entire North Olympic Peninsula since the pandemic began, according county public health data.

Jefferson County held steady with no new deaths reported Friday. The county has confirmed 17 deaths among residents since the pandemic began.

The newest death in Clallam County was a woman in her 80s who was unvaccinated and was not a long-term care facility resident, Berry said.

Berry expressed condolences to the woman’s family and friends.

“I really encourage all of our citizens to move forward with getting vaccinated as we head into the holiday season,” Berry said.

“We’re starting to see cases rise around the country, and we anticipate that they will rise here too, and the best way to protect yourselves and your loved ones is to get vaccinated.”

Booster doses

On Friday, officials with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) approved the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines for booster doses from all Americans 18 and older who received their final dose of a COVID-19 vaccine more than six months prior.

“I would encourage our eligible citizens to get a booster as it will add that added layer of protection for the holiday season,” Berry said.

“But, do know that your full vaccination series is still providing you excellent protection. This is just one more layer of protection you can add as we move into the holidays.”

Infection from the virus is greater in those who are unvaccinated than those who are, authorities have said.

Boosters are expected to be available to the new age group early this week, Berry said.

There will not be mass booster clinics this time around. The vaccine boosters are more readily available at local pharmacies and health clinics, Berry said.

“We’ve had vaccination clinics going on since January of this year and they’re staffed near exclusively by volunteers,” Berry said. “I think our very dedicated staff of volunteers deserve a break for the holidays.”

Residents can use the state’s vaccination locator at https://vaccinelocator.doh.wa.gov/?language=en to find pharmacies and health clinics offering booster, adult and/or pediatric vaccinations.

According to the latest data from the state Department of Health, 82.2 percent of the population 12 and older in Jefferson County have started vaccinations, with 78.1 percent fully vaccinated.

Of the entire population, 75.6 percent have begun vaccination and 71.9 percent are fully vaccinated, according to the state’s dashboard.

In Clallam County, 76.3 percent of the population 12 and older have started vaccinations, with 71.5 percent fully vaccinated.

Of the total population, 67.8 percent have begun vaccinations, with 63.5 percent fully vaccinated, according to the state’s dashboard.

Clallam County added 10 new cases of COVID-19. The county has confirmed a total of 5,170 cases since the start of the pandemic, county health data said.

Jefferson County added nine new cases Friday. The county has confirmed a total of 1,254 cases since the pandemic began, according to county public health data.

Clallam County had a case rate of 254 per 100,000 population for the past two weeks as of Friday, according to county public health data.

In Jefferson County, health officials recorded a case rate of 192.61 per 100,000 for the two weeks prior as of Nov. 17. Prior to that, the county had a case rate of 201.93 per 100,000 for the two weeks prior as of Nov. 10.

As of Friday, six Jefferson County residents and seven Clallam County residents were hospitalized with COVID-19.

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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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