Clallam man in 90s dies of COVID-19

Cases up, but case rates declining on North Olympic Peninsula

A Clallam County man in his 90s has died of COVID-19, raising the death toll in the county to 119.

The man had been vaccinated and had at least one of the recommended boosters for those 50 and older, said Dr. Allison Berry, the health officer for Clallam and Jefferson counties. He also had been moved to end-of-life care by his family due to underlying health conditions.

COVID-19 case rates are plateauing across the state and on the North Olympic Peninsula as the nation moves further into the endemic stage of the pandemic.

Though case numbers continue to climb, case rates have even begun to decline on the Peninsula, Berry reported Monday.

Jefferson county reported 5,271, cases, up 93 cases from last Monday, with a case rate of 690 per 100,000 population, down from 786 per 100,000 a week ago.

Clallam County reported 14,662 cases with a case rate of 562 per 100,000, down from 604 per 100,000 a week ago.

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.

Two people were hospitalized with COVID-19 on Monday, one in Clallam County and the other in Jefferson County.

Jefferson County’s death toll from the virus remained at 30.

Berry continued to urge people to wear masks while indoors and encourages people to get vaccinated if they haven’t and get boosters if they are eligible.

One new recommendation is for individuals to continue to isolate themselves, Berry said.

“COVID-19 is not going to go away, but as we move more into this endemic phase, I think it’s really important that folks begin to engage in activities that are meaningful to their lives, that they may have put off over the last few years because of COVID-19,” she said. “You can do these activities and continue to stay safe, especially if you’ve done and continue to do all the things like masking and getting vaccinated.”

Monkeypox

Two cases of monkeypox recently have been diagnosed in Kitsap County, Berry told the Board of Jefferson County Commissioners on Monday.

“One hundred and 18 cases have been diagnosed in the state, with two recently diagnosed in Kitsap County, so it is likely we will see cases crop up here in Jefferson and in Clallam,” Berry said.

Monkeypox is similar to the virus that causes smallpox, although the symptoms are milder and rarely fatal, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“The disease is passed by prolonged skin-to-skin contact, so you can’t get it from accidentally touching someone or from touching something someone else with the disease has touched,” Berry said. “But you can if you’ve engaged in sex with someone who has it, or any other activity with prolonged skin-to-skin contact.”

So far, monkeypox has disproportionately been diagnosed in the LGBTQ community, particularly among men who engage in sex with other men.

However, it is not exclusive to that group. Health officials said anyone can get monkeypox, and while it is not a sexually transmitted disease, people should treat it as such, especially if they have multiple sexual partners.

“We recommend limiting folks’ number of sexual partners and encourage folks to discuss sexual history with those partners and practice safe sex in general,” Berry said.

There is a vaccine and treatment for monkeypox, but it is a limited supply that is currently only accessible to those exposed to monkeypox or who have been diagnosed with it, Berry said.

“We have enough of the vaccine for those who have been exposed and other at-risk populations, but not enough for the general population,” she said.

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Reporter Ken Park can be reached by email at kpark@soundpublishing.com.

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