Clallam’s case rate declines; Jefferson climbs to moderate

Undersheriff urges caution for weekend

Clallam County reported two new COVID-19 cases while Jefferson County had one, and health officials in both counties urged people to avoid large Labor Day parties and gatherings.

Jefferson’s positive test was its first since last Tuesday, county Health Officer Dr. Tom Locke said.

He said Sunday the county had not yet traced the source of the latest infection.

The additional case put Jefferson County at 70 cases since March. The county has 16 cases listed as active and nine cases in the past two weeks.

If that number holds, Locke said that will give Jefferson County an infection rate of about 27 per 100,000 in the past two weeks, putting it in the state’s moderate-risk category. The threshold for low risk is 25 cases per 100,000 population in the past two weeks.

Clallam County added two cases on its website Sunday and three on Saturday, putting the county’s total at 212 cases since March. There were 28 active cases listed on the county’s website.

Clallam County’s infection rate is 83 per 100,000 population during the past two weeks. While it’s still in the “high-risk” category with more than 75 cases per 100,000, it has dropped from a high point of 97.4 cases per 100,000 people.

Labor Day weekend

Clallam County Undersheriff Ron Cameron posted a message on the Sheriff’s Office Facebook page advising people to avoid big gatherings during the Labor Day Weekend Sept. 5-7.

County health officials traced an initial spike in cases to gatherings during the Fourth of July holiday. Since then, other gatherings and parties have been identified as a source.

“But as we approach the end of the traditional summer, and we look at Labor Day coming up, the desire to have a get-together may start to hit you,” Cameron wrote. “If you think you want to host something, please don’t. And if you’re invited to a party or large gathering, politely decline. The gatherings are our biggest villain right now. With the numbers we have, if you have a get together of 20 people, it’s likely someone has the bug.”

Locke said he’s also concerned about colleges opening around the state. Jefferson County traced some of its positive cases earlier this year to University of Washington fraternities.

That will be one of Locke’s points during his weekly COVID-19 briefing today with the Board of Jefferson County Commissioners.

“We’re going to talk about school campuses and people holding large gatherings,” Locke said. “Sometimes it’s defiance, other times it’s something that just grows. With thousands of students returning to off-campus housing, even with a lot of schools moving to online learning, there is a danger of students holding large gatherings.

“And with large gatherings, it’s just inevitable that we’ll see outbreaks,” he said.

Jefferson special meeting

The Jefferson County Commissioners will have a special meeting online at 9 a.m., and COVID-19 will be discussed at 9:45 a.m. The meeting can be viewed at www.tinyurl.com/jeffcomeeting.

Locke said he plans to discuss the reopening of schools and how the county should prepare for a COVID-19 vaccine. He pointed out that even if a vaccine is developed, COVID-19 won’t vanish overnight.

“It will still be three to six months before they really have it under control,” he said. “It’s going to be a long haul.”

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Sports Editor Pierre LaBossiere can be reached by email at [email protected]

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