PORT ANGELES — Clallam County has reported four new COVID-19 cases, while Jefferson County did not have any new cases but was investigating a case involving a University of Washington student with ties to Jefferson County.
Clallam County reported three new COVID-19 cases Friday and one new case Saturday, said county Health Officer Dr. Allison Unthank. As of Saturday, Clallam County had 265 cases with 10 active cases and an infection rate of 20 per 100,000 over the past two weeks, which puts the county in the low risk category.
Jefferson County did not have any new cases reported Friday or Saturday, said Jefferson Health Care Officer Dr. Tom Locke.
Jefferson County has had 80 COVID-19 cases since March. The county has eight active cases and currently holds an infection rate of 25 per 100,000, right on the edge of the low risk category.
Locke said that infection rate will be recalculated Monday. The county had an infection rate between 0 per 100,000 and 9 per 100,000 through most of September, but in recent weeks, has seen an uptick in new cases. Locke said this is happening around the state.
“We’re seeing the same thing as the rest of the state. A slow upward trend,” he said.
Locke said the county is investigating some out-of-county tests involving out-of-county residents. One of those cases is tied to a UW student whose address is still listed in Jefferson County.
Locke said this is part of a national trend with positives showing up at college campuses around the country.
“It’s proving incredibly difficult to prevent transmission at colleges,” he said.
Unthank reiterated Friday that one thing that has changed in Clallam County is that an outbreak on the West End of the county “is really dying down. We did a lot of work on the West End to get that under control.”
At the same time, there has been an increase in new cases in the Sequim region.
Unthank said county officials suspect there is some community transmission in Sequim, but that recent new cases seem to be tied to travel out of the county and out of the state.
“We’ve been worried about Sequim since the beginning of this because of the age of the population in that area,” Unthank said.
Unthank said there have been no cases yet tied to Clallam County schools. Schools in the county opened to limited in-person instruction Oct. 5.
“Schools are increasingly comfortable with the [COVID-19] protocols,” Unthank said.
She said data is showing that schools that follow safety guidelines — masking and maintaining social distancing — are avoiding outbreaks of COVID-19.
Unthank said one factor that has been happening with recent cases is positives are being caused by people traveling, in particular either leaving the state or having visitors from out of state. She said it was important for people to continue trying to avoid nonessential travel.
Unthank also reiterated that Trick and Treating for Halloween is “relatively safe activity” if people stay in small groups with others in their household and make sure to wear face masks.
“In-person parties we recommend against,” she said. “Large groups of people indoors we recommend strongly against that.”
Unthank also urged people to keep taking precautions as the temperatures grow cooler and more socializing takes place indoors.
“In the fall and winter, as we move indoors, make sure you’re bringing very small groups indoors with you,” she said.
Sports Editor Pierre LaBossiere can be reached at [email protected]