A 30-year-old Clallam County man has died from COVID-19, bringing the county’s death toll up to 118.
Dr. Allison Berry, the health officer for Clallam and Jefferson counties, said the man was unvaccinated and had no underlying health conditions.
“This is, unfortunately, a reminder of why it’s important to get vaccinated, even if you are someone who is not immunocompromised and under 50, and if you are one of those people, it’s equally important to get vaccinated and boosted,” Berry said.
No new deaths were reported in Jefferson County, which has recorded 30 deaths due to the virus since the pandemic began.
The BA.5 sub-variant of the omicron variant of COVID-19 is now the pervasive strain of the virus on the peninsula and throughout the country, Berry said.
Although it is not more severe than previous variants, it is highly transmissible and able to get around some of the protection that comes from prior infection and vaccination, she said.
Berry encourages people to not only get vaccinated and use face masks while indoors in public spaces, but she also recommends those who are eligible to seek monoclonal antibody treatment.
“It’s called Evusheld, and it’s for individuals who are immunosuppressed — on medications that suppress their immune systems or have conditions, like active cancer that suppress them,” Berry said. “Patients with these conditions should talk to their primary care provider about seeking the treatment.”
Clallam County reported a total of 14,503 cases on Monday, up 260 cases from 14,243 last week with a case rate of 604 per 100,000 population.
Jefferson County reported a total of 5,178 cases, up 143 cases from 5,035 last week with a case rate of 786 per 100,000.
Case rates are a reflection of cases reported during a two-week period. They are computed using a formula based on 100,000 population even for counties that do not have 100,000 people living in them.
During a weekly update with the Board of Jefferson County Commissioners, Berry also talked about the spread of Monkeypox.
“This is a disease that is worth taking seriously, but it’s not like COVID-19,” she said. “We don’t expect a broad spread of it because of how it is transmitted.”
Monkeypox is similar to the virus that causes smallpox, although the symptoms are more mild and rarely fatal, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“The virus can spread in different ways, from direct contact with the infectious rash, scabs or body fluids, touching items (such as clothing or linens) that previously touched the infectious rash or body fluids, to respiratory secretions during prolonged, face-to-face contact, or during intimate physical contact, such as kissing, cuddling or sex,” according to the CDC.
Monkeypox can spread from the time symptoms start until the rash has fully healed and a fresh layer of skin has formed.
“It’s important to note that this is not a sexually transmitted disease,” Berry said. “It is a virus that spreads through prolonged skin-to-skin contact, which happens during sex.”
It is also important right now to note that the majority of cases in the U.S. have been found in adults, and there is a vaccine available for them,” Berry said.
More information about Monkeypox and COVID-19 can be found on the CDC website, cdc.gov.
Jefferson County also has posted an information link at https://jeffersoncountypublichealth.org/1602/Monkeypox about Monkeypox to better inform citizens about the virus. Clallam County will have a similar link later this week, Berry said.
Reporter Ken Park can be reached at email@example.com.