COVID-19 cases climb on Peninsula

COVID-19 cases climb on Peninsula

Health officers blame private parties

Both health officers on the North Olympic Peninsula have blamed a recent uptick in cases on private parties.

Clallam County Health Officer Dr. Allison Unthank also said that Clallam County is “perilously close” to possibly having its restaurants closed again.

Five Port Angeles bars and restaurants had to close temporarily over the past two weeks because of possible positive cases tied to those businesses or to employees.

One of those businesses that closed, the Barhop, announced on Facebook on Saturday that it is reopening Monday.

Unthank said Friday that while most businesses in the county are doing a good job of following safety protocols, the real problem is parties and get-togethers that have caused outbreaks both in the West End and more recently in Port Angeles.

“The vast majority of businesses are following guidelines,” she said. “We’ve seen an incredible effort from businesses and their employees,” she said.

State officials are discussing possibly closing restaurants again, at least to indoor dining, in communities that are seeing a rapid growth in cases, according to Unthank.

“We don’t want to do that. We know so many people would be hurt if we have to close businesses again,” she said.

She said one metric being discussed at the state level is an infection rate of more than 100 per 100,000 over a two-week period. As of Saturday, Clallam County’s infection rate was 97.4 per 100,000.

Clallam County has had 185 total cases, with five new positives announced Saturday, all locally transmitted. A total of 45 cases are active in the county. One Clallam County person died earlier this month after contracting COVID-19, while 139 people have recovered from the virus.

Unthank said Friday that more than 400 people in Clallam County are in quarantine at the moment because of potential exposure to people with the virus.

Parties and get-togethers with little or no social distancing continue to be the main driver of new positives, Unthank said.

A few weeks ago, the West End was seeing a rise in new cases. Now the locus is Port Angeles.

“The last two weeks, we’ve really shot up quite a bit,” she said. “We’ve certainly seen a dramatic rise in cases.”

In Jefferson County, Dr. Tom Locke said Thursday that a party at Tarboo Lake is responsible for an outbreak of two cases there.

The infection rate in Jefferson County is also on the rise, though not as dramatically as in Clallam.

The infection rate in Jefferson County is listed at 18.8 per 100,000. Locke said that number will be updated Monday and he expects it will go up to between 25 to 30 per 100,000 because of a number of new cases last week.

No new cases were reported Saturday in Jefferson County. One was confirmed Friday. Jefferson has 65 total cases and 13 active cases.

Like Unthank, Locke cited private parties as the main problem.

“This is happening all over the state,” Locke said. “People getting together are desperate to cast off the gloom of isolation.

“It’s taking its toll.”

Said Unthank: “We cannot fight COVID-19 alone. We need everyone in the community to come together

”If you’re thinking of having a party … don’t. If you’re invited to a party, politely and compassionately don’t go. And compassionately mention that now is probably not a good time to have a party,” she continued.

“It’s important for us to all reach out to our friends and neighbors.”

________

Sports Editor Pierre LaBossiere can be reached at plabossiere@peninsuladailynews.com.

COVID-19 cases climb on Peninsula

More in News

Smoke vents from the rear car deck doors as firefighters battle a vehicle fire aboard the ferry MV Coho upon its afternoon arrival in Port Angeles on Thursday. (Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News)
Crews evaluated after RV fire on Coho ferry

Combined training helped during incident, deputy chief says

Staff favors denial for rezone

Proposal would pave way for Dollar General Plus

Clallam Transit considering proposal for Narcan at Gateway center

Board members want time for more discussion before next meeting

Turns restricted during roundabout construction

Drivers at the intersection of state highways 104 and 19… Continue reading

Bridge closures canceled for May 17, May 18

Hood Canal bridge closures originally scheduled for this weekend have… Continue reading

Roxanne Pfiefer-Fisher, a volunteer with a team from Walmart, sorts through sections of what will become a slide during Wednesday’s opening day of a community rebuild of the Dream Playground at Erickson Playfield in Port Angeles. (Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News)
Volunteers flock to Dream Playground to start build

Group effort reminds organizers of efforts in 2021, 2002

Lawsuit over pool ban is planned

Lawyers say they’re suing city of Port Townsend, YMCA

Peninsula Behavioral Health adds 3 programs

Services help those experiencing psychosis, provide housing

Michael Anderson of Gibsons, British Columbia tries his hand at flying a kite in the gusty winds of Point Hudson on Monday afternoon. Anderson was on the last leg of an RV vacation around the Olympic Peninsula with his wife and dog and planned on spending the next two nights at the Point Hudson Marina RV Park before they head home. (Steve Mullensky/for Peninsula Daily News)
Let’s go fly a kite

Michael Anderson of Gibsons, British Columbia tries his hand at flying a… Continue reading

Residents against store proposal

Hearing examiner meeting set Thursday

Jefferson County wants to increase curbside service for trash

Congestion at transfer station increasing costs, manager says

Port of PA to replace John Wayne Marina ramp

Boat launch will include components from Port of Friday Harbor