Community transmission of COVID-19 seen again in Clallam County

Clallam County is once again finding COVID-19 cases of community transmission — cases infected locally with no known source — among unvaccinated residents, and health officials are concerned about the rising levels of virus transmission.

Clallam County confirmed 10 new COVID-19 cases on Thursday, three of which are from community transmission, and the rest from contacts of known cases or from travel, said Dr. Allison Berry, Clallam County health officer.

Jefferson County added one new case Thursday. It is a household member of a prior confirmed case, said Dr. Tom Locke, Jefferson County health officer.

All of the new cases are unvaccinated residents, Berry and Locke said.

Berry is concerned about community transmission starting to spread again locally.

“That altogether for us is a really concerning development as it suggests that we’re really seeing a rise in COVID activity across the board,” she said.

“What we’re seeing by and large is many people are letting down their guard regardless of their vaccination status and that’s really a recipe for a significant increase in transmission.”

COVID-19 restrictions on businesses, masking and social distancing are expected to be loosened on June 30 by Gov. Jay Inslee, and that poses a higher risk to those who are unvaccinated, Locke said.

“We still have too high levels of unvaccinated people, and we don’t have many people immune by virtue of having had COVID,” Locke said.

“Everybody wants to get back to normal and start socializing and put away their masks, and all of that, but it’s very unsafe to do if you’re not vaccinated.

“We’re making this transition in non-ideal circumstances. We really wanted the levels of disease to go lower than they are now.

“We thought that was attainable, but it’s not happening because vaccinations have slowed down. We’re encountering more resistance than we thought we would, and I think as a state we backed off on some of our restrictions too early.”

The Jefferson County Public Health and the Department of Emergency Management will conduct vaccination clinics on today and Saturday.

Today’s clinic will be from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. in the parking lot at Sunrise Coffee, 308 10th St., Port Townsend. The Saturday clinic will be from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Port Townsend Farmers Market on Tyler Street.

Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines will be available. It is necessary to be 18 or older to receive either vaccine.

To make an appointment, go to https://prepmod.doh.wa.gov//appointment/en/reg/9069590321 or call 360-344-9791. Walk-ins are welcome.

Vaccinations at pharmacies in Jefferson County can be found at https://co. jefferson.wa.us/1429/COVID-19.

Clallam County has a pop-up vaccination clinic scheduled for today. Officials will be offering Johnson & Johnson and Moderna vaccines from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at the Port Angeles Food Bank, 632 N. Oakridge Drive, according to the clinic calendar

On Saturday, officials will have a pop-up clinic at the Port Angeles Lefties game from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at Civic Field, offering Johnson & Johnson and Pfizer vaccines.

More vaccination clinics on the North Olympic Peninsula can be found at www.peninsuladailynews.com/news/gamma-variant- infections-increasing-state wide.

The state has a vaccination locator at https:// vaccinelocator.doh.wa.gov, which allows users to see where appointments are available and which vaccine will be used.

While all state residents 12 and older are eligible to be vaccinated, anyone younger than 18 can receive only Pfizer’s vaccine.

Ninety-seven cases have been confirmed in June so far in Clallam County, about 6.7 percent of 1,448 cases reported since the pandemic began, according to county data.

Jefferson County has confirmed 29 cases this month, about 6.5 percent of the 446 total cases since the pandemic began, according to county data.

Thirty-seven cases were active in Clallam County on Thursday with six hospitalized, three out of county, and one in the Intensive Care Unit at Olympic Medical Center. Jefferson County had seven active cases and at least one hospitalization.

Clallam County has recorded 12 deaths due to COVID-19 while Jefferson County has recorded four.

Clallam County is in the state’s high-risk category with a case rate of 78 per 100,000 population for the past two weeks as of Thursday.

Jefferson County is in the state’s moderate-risk category with a case rate of 68.97 per 100,000 for the two weeks prior as of Saturday.

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Jefferson County reporter Zach Jablonski can be reached at 360-385-2335, ext. 5, or at [email protected]

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