Clallam County COVID-19 deaths hit 50

Makah reservation will remain closed to visitors

Two additional Clallam County residents have died from COVID-19, raising the total number of deaths in the county to 50 and the total on the North Olympic Peninsula to 63 since the pandemic began.

The most recent deaths were a man and woman, both in their 60s, and both were unvaccinated, said Dr. Allison Berry, health officer for Clallam and Jefferson counties.

Jefferson County had no new deaths. It has confirmed 13 deaths since the pandemic began.

Berry said about 76 percent of the deaths reported in Clallam County and about 69 percent of deaths in Jefferson County have occurred since the end of June. Clallam County has had 38 deaths and Jefferson County has had nine since June 30.

“The vast majority of our deaths have been in the last few months,” Berry said.

Reservation closed

On Wednesday, the Makah Tribe said its Neah Bay reservation will remain closed to visitors until at least Jan. 1 due to the continued high number of cases and hospitalizations due to COVID-19 as part of the tribe’s measures to protect its residents, said T.J. Greene, tribal council chair.

“That’s just an additional layer of protection for our vulnerable population here in Neah Bay,” Greene said.

Neah Bay will continue to play high school sports through the closure, Greene said.

The Neah Bay football team is set to play on the road Friday at Darrington.

“The high school has an approved safety plan,” Greene said. “Depending on the virus activity, most likely there will be no fans allowed.”

Greene said if the virus activity drops in the ensuing weeks, it’s possible that a limited number of fans will be allowed at home games.

Berry said she fully supports the tribe’s decision, noting a current rise in cases in the West End and Clallam Bay areas, and she added the tribe knows what’s best for its residents.

“I think the tribe has been very prudent in their COVID response,” she said.

New cases

On Wednesday, Clallam County added 29 new cases of COVID-19, raising its total to 4,205 cases since the pandemic began, according to public health data.

Jefferson County added five new cases of COVID-19, raising its total to 993 cases since the pandemic began, according to public health data.

Clallam County’s case rate continues to decrease, with the county reporting 764 cases per 100,000 population for the past two weeks as of Wednesday. It recorded a case rate of 795 cases per 100,000 on Tuesday, public health data said.

Jefferson County’s case rate is calculated weekly. It dropped to 275.86 cases per 100,000 for the past two weeks as of Saturday. The case rate recorded last week was 379.31 cases per 100,000, according to county public health data.

Hospitals have seen improvements in treating COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic, but those treatments are limited and are most effective when provided sooner rather than later when sick with COVID-19, Berry said.

She urges any high-risk person who is sick with COVID-19, especially if they’re unvaccinated, to talk with their primary health care provider to get access to possible treatments that are available.

Booster shots

The Pfizer booster shots, approved by amending the emergency use authorization, also includes people from the ages of 12 to 15, the FDA said.

At least six months after completing the primary Pfizer vaccine series, people 65 and older, those 18 and older living in a long-term care setting, and those 50 to 64 with underlying medical conditions or at increased risk of social inequities could receive a booster dose of the Pfizer vaccine, officials said.

Additionally, people ages 18 to 49 with underlying medical conditions and those 18 to 64 who are at higher risk of COVID-19 exposure and transmission because of their occupational or institutional setting — and who completed a Pfizer vaccine series at least six months ago — may receive a Pfizer booster dose, officials said.

Eligible Jefferson County residents can sign up to receive a booster shot through the Jefferson County Public Health website here or by calling 360-344-9791.

The Pfizer booster vaccination clinics will be conducted from 9 a.m. to noon and from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. on three consecutive Saturday in October.

They are:

• Oct. 9, Chimacum School District multi-purpose building, 91 W. Valley Road.

• Oct. 16, Blue Heron Middle School, 3939 San Juan Ave., Port Townsend.

• Oct. 23, Quilcene School, 294715 U.S. Highway 101, Quilcene.

Vaccination cards should be brought to appointments.

Clallam County emergency management and public health departments have booster dose clinics scheduled for Oct. 16 and 17 at Port Angeles High School that will be open to all eligible Clallam County residents, with potential to add additional clinics on Oct. 23 and Oct. 24 if the demand is high enough, Berry said.

Specific times and how to sign up for the Clallam County clinics will be announced soon, Berry said.

________

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

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