COVID-19 case rates skyrocket on Olympic Peninsula

Health officer reiterates need for vaccinations

The North Olympic Peninsula public health officer continues to urge residents to get vaccinated for COVID-19 as case numbers and case rates soar higher than ever.

“We are begging the community to get vaccinated as soon as possible,” said Dr. Allison Berry, health officer for Clallam and Jefferson counties. “It is the biggest thing we can do to protect our community.”

Clallam County on Tuesday set a record high for its case rate of 532 per 100,000 population for the past two weeks as of Tuesday.

Jefferson County calculates its case rate weekly, and it reported its highest case rate on Monday of 263.32 per 100,000 for the two weeks prior as of Saturday.

“There are certainly places where it’s worse, but it’s certainly the highest we’ve ever had,” Berry said.

Clallam County confirmed 42 new cases Tuesday, raising its total to 2,271 cases since the pandemic began, according to public health data.

Jefferson County confirmed six Tuesday, raising its total to 646 cases since the pandemic began, according to public health data.

The statewide case rate is 481 per 100,000 for the two weeks prior as of Monday.

Many counties throughout the state have higher case rates than those on the Peninsula, according to state Department of Health data.

The COVID-19 outbreak at the Clallam Bay Corrections Center remained at three staff members and three inmates. Officials are hopeful they’ll be able to limit the spread there, Berry said.

Also at the corrections center, three inmates have tested positive for tuberculosis, and officials are working to prevent further spread of that disease there as well, Berry said.

“Tuberculosis can happen in jails and congregate settings like that,” she said. “It’s uncommon in our area, thankfully, but we’re hopeful that we’ll be able to contain that.”

Since the start of the fifth wave of infections and the beginning of vaccine mandates for health care, state and school employees, a slight increase in vaccinations has been seen, but it isn’t enough to slow the spread of the highly contagious delta variant of COVID-19, Berry said.

“We are seeing a slow uptick in vaccinations, but no mass surge in vaccinations, unfortunately, at this point,” Berry said.

Data compiled by the state Department of Health shows that, in Jefferson County, 76.4 percent of residents 12 and older have initiated vaccinations, 72.8 percent are fully vaccinated, with 70.2 percent of the total population having started vaccinations and 67 percent fully vaccinated, according to the state’s dashboard.

Clallam County has vaccinated 67.2 percent of residents 12 and older with at least one dose, while 62.1 percent are fully vaccinated. At the same time, 59.7 percent of the total population has begun vaccinations and 55.2 percent of all residents are fully vaccinated, according to the state’s dashboard.

Seven people are currently hospitalized for COVID-19 in Clallam County, with three in the Intensive Care Unit. One person is hospitalized in Jefferson County, Berry said.

With rising case numbers, Berry continues to urge residents to get tested for COVID-19 if they’re sick, get vaccinated as soon as possible, practice social distancing and wear face masks indoors.

“We’ve successfully beaten back four waves of COVID-19 and this fifth wave is just the largest we’ve ever seen,” Berry said. “We’re doing everything we can to decrease it, but we’re just trying to limit the damage from it until we can see the benefit of people increasing their masking.”

Twenty people have died from COVID-19 in Clallam County, while four people have died in Jefferson County since the pandemic began.

________

Jefferson County reporter Zach Jablonski can be reached at 360-385-2335, ext. 5, or at zjablonski@peninsuladailynews.com.

More in News

tsr
Mobile Healing Clinic to start in Clallam Bay on Monday

RV offers similar MAT services as Sequim facility

Finalists for the 2023 Sequim-Dungeness Valley Chamber Commerce’s Citizen of the Year award include, front row, from left, Carol Labbe and Pauline Olsen. Not pictured is the award recipient, Renne Emiko Brock, who was unable to attend the chamber’s annual awards luncheon on Tuesday. Pictured with Labbe and Olsen are, back row, from left, chamber President Eran Kennedy, chamber Executive Director Beth Pratt and Lorie Fazio, Citizen of the Year committee chair. (Michael Dashiell/Olympic Peninsula News Group)
Art advocate Brock named Sequim Citizen of Year

Labbe, Olsen finalists for town’s top civic award

Lena Curtis guides a snow sled with her two children, Lucien Williams, 4 1/2, and Millie, 2, all from Port Townsend, down a snow hill at Port Townsend High School on Tuesday. An overnight storm passed through but not before depositing about 3 inches of soft powder, which melted rapidly as the day warmed. The blast of snowfall was largely confined to the area around Port Townsend and Port Hadlock overnight into Tuesday morning on the North Olympic Peninsula. Another weather system was coming in on Tuesday afternoon and is expected to drop rain in the lowlands and snow in the mountains on Wednesday and early Thursday, according to meteorologist Jacob DeFlitch with the National Weather Service in Seattle. (Steve Mullensky/for Peninsula Daily News)
Downhill sledding

Lena Curtis guides a snow sled with her two children, Lucien Williams,… Continue reading

waddell
Clallam PUD seeks replacement for Waddell

Applicants for the Clallam County Public Utility District commissioner seat… Continue reading

Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe council leaders celebrate the opening of the tribe’s new library at its Blyn campus on Saturday. Pictured, from left, are treasurer Theresa Lehman, vice chair Loni Grinnell-Greninger, chair/CEO Ron Allen and secretary Rochelle Blankenship. (Michael Dashiell/Olympic Peninsula News Group)
Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe celebrates library opening

Chairman/CEO: New facility is ‘second to none’

Solar array, battery storage to be installed on Port Angeles Senior Center

System could provide hours of backup power in case of an outage

UPDATE: Power restored between Sequim, Port Angeles

A tree has been removed from a Clallam County PUD… Continue reading

Road work to close Quinault Loop

Work crews from Haztech Drilling will begin geotechnical drilling… Continue reading

Fiber gathering Thursday at Studio Bob

Marva Holmes will host “St*tch & B*tch” at 4:30… Continue reading

Dream Playground to be fully covered by insurance

Donations still will be used in May rebuild

About 30 sailboats compete in the Port Townsend Sailing Association’s 33rd annual Shipwrights Regatta on Port Townsend Bay on Saturday. More of a fun event than a sailing competition, awards are given out during a pizza party afterward for the most navigationally challenged (Directional Helmet trophy) and for the “saltiest” boat and crew. (Steve Mullensky/for Peninsula Daily News)
Shipwrights Regatta

About 30 sailboats compete in the Port Townsend Sailing Association’s 33rd annual… Continue reading