Clallam County Health Officer Dr. Allison Unthank said the opening of Clallam County schools to in-person instruction has gone well so far, with younger children wearing their masks in class.
Unthank also warned that other parts of the state do seem to be experiencing a “third wave” of new infections recently, though that third wave does not appear to have hit the North Olympic Peninsula.
“I’m really hopeful that if we continue to take the guidelines seriously, we can prevent the third wave here,” Unthank said. She recommended people avoid traveling to high-infection areas and avoid flying if they can.
“We’re currently doing quite well in our little corner of the U.S.,” she said.
Clallam County had one new COVID-19 case confirmed Friday and none Saturday.
Jefferson County had two new cases reported Friday and none Saturday. A third suspected case of COVID-19 that Jefferson County is investigating is actually an out-of-county case, said Jefferson County Health Officer Dr. Tom Locke.
As of Saturday, Clallam County had had 257 cases of COVID-19 since March, with seven active cases at the moment. The infection rate is 25 per 100,000 over the past two weeks, right at the upper end of low-risk infection rate category.
Jefferson County has had 77 cases since March and has six active cases now. The two new cases were both men in their 60s in the south end of the county.
The infection rate in Jefferson County likely will be about 18 per 100,000 when that number is updated Monday, Locke said. That’s still in the low-risk category, though Jefferson’s infection rate has been steadily rising since it actually hit 0 per 100,000 late last month.
Locke said none of the recent new cases in Jefferson County were related to the reopening of schools in early September in that county.
In her Friday weekly COVID-19 update, Unthank said that the first week of in-person schooling was successful in Clallam County.
“I want to acknowledge the incredible work by the schools, by the administrators, by the teachers and by the kids,” Unthank said. “So far, that has gone incredibly well. There were a bunch of kindergartners all doing great wearing their masks.”
“We are hopeful that many of the school districts, if we can continue to keep our numbers low, can bring back more additional grades in the next couple of weeks,” she said, “assuming the rest of us in the county do our good work and keep those numbers down to allow kids back in school.”
Unthank also said the state released its guidelines for bringing prep and youth sports back. Some of those sports that are considered high risk (such as football, wrestling, basketball) require an infection rate of lower than 25 per 100,000 to begin.
Unthank said it is up to everyone to do their part to bring the community’s infection rate down so young people can return to sports.
“Kids need a degree of normalcy and activity. How well that all works depends on the rest of us,” Unthank said.
Sports Editor Pierre LaBossiere can be reached at [email protected]