COVID-19 cases increase among children in Clallam

School reports one case of either staff member or student

Cases of COVID-19 are rising among children, according to the Clallam County health officer.

Children’s parties were among the three large gatherings — two parties and a wedding — of at least 30 people that led to more than 100 residents being placed in quarantine in Clallam County, Dr. Allison Berry said Friday. That has meant that a couple of day care facilities have been affected.

“We are seeing a lot of transmission among children. Since they are not vaccinated, they are not protected,” she said during her Friday briefing.

“It’s appropriate to gather children together but it needs to done outside.”

Berry said that she anticipates mass vaccinations for children of middle school age and older to be available before the fall and that vaccinations for children under 12 — except for those under 6 months old — are expected by end of the year.

Parents of Stevens Middle School students have been notified that one student or staff member has tested positive for COVID-19.

The Port Angeles School District notified parents Friday, saying that the students and staff members who were in close contact with the person who tested positive have been identified by Clallam County health officials and they will be notified by school staff.

Families and staff also can contact Clallam County Public Health at 360-417-2274 for questions regarding testing and quarantine, the district said.

Students and staff who were exposed will be required to quarantine at home for 10 days. Students who do not receive a call from the school or from county public health officials are not considered exposed to the virus and may continue to attend school.

“The areas of the school where this student or staff member spent time will be cleaned and sanitized before any students return to the classroom,” the district said.

“The safety of our students, staff, and families is our number one priority,” the district added in the letter. “Because of the safety precautions we have in place, the number of students and staff exposed to COVID-19 in this case is quite low.”

Jefferson County has no cases identified in public schools at this time, said Dr. Tom Locke, county health officer.

In the past, there have been cases in which students fell ill elsewhere and steps were taken to ensure that it did not spread into a school outbreak he said, adding that it has been several weeks since that happened.

Fourteen new cases were confirmed Thursday in Clallam County, all tied to the social gatherings, Berry said. Contacts who were possibly exposed are in quarantine.

As of Thursday, Clallam County had confirmed a total of 161 COVID-19 cases so far this month, about 13.13 percent of the 1,226 cases during the past year, according to county data.

Four cases were added to Jefferson County’s total Thursday, but three were from up to two months ago and are not new active cases, Locke said. None were reported Friday or Saturday.

Jefferson County had confirmed 41 cases so far in April, about 10.51 percent of the 390 cases in the past year, according to county Public Health data.

Forty-four COVID-19 cases were active as of Thursday in Clallam County, with three patients currently hospitalized, one of whom is in the Intensive Care Unit.

Jefferson County had 11 active cases.

Clallam County is in the state’s high-risk category, having a case rate of 100 per 100,000 population for the past two weeks as of Thursday, while Jefferson County in the moderate-risk category with a case rate of 65.83 per 100,000 for the two weeks prior as of Saturday.

Both health officers have been urging residents of the North Olympic Peninsula to get vaccinated.

Numerous opportunities are available, including at pop-up clinics, pharmacies and doctors’ offices. Anyone who can’t physically make it to a clinic for vaccination can call their county’s department of emergency management: 360-417-2430 in Clallam County and 360-344-9791 in Jefferson County.

Some pop-up clinics are organized in response to requests from facilities, such as a small clinic Jefferson County is holding at a church.

The Clallam Bay Correctional Center is hosting a vaccination clinic at the prison, it was reported Friday, with all incarcerated people and staff members polled as to who wants the vaccine. It was reported that the prison had about a 50 percent vaccination rate among inmates.

The vaccination rate for people 16 and older in Jefferson County is 54.7 percent fully vaccinated, with 66 percent having at least one dose. In Clallam County 39 percent have been fully vaccination, with 47 percent having at least one dose.

No appointments are needed for pop-up clinics.

The last of three pop-up clinics created by the Clallam County Emergency Management and the Port Angeles Chamber of Commerce will be today from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. in downtown Port Angeles at the site of the former ice skating rink, 121 W. Front St.

The county and Barhop at 124 W. Railroad Ave. in Port Angeles are offering two “a Shot and a Beer” pop-up clinics using Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccine. The clinics will be open to those 18 and older, but only those 21 and older who receive the shots will also be able to each get a free beer.

The clinics are scheduled from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday and from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. May 10.

Appointments for Jefferson Healthcare’s clinics can be made at https://jefferson healthcare.org/covid-19- vaccine.

Jefferson Healthcare has opened new vaccine appointments for Johnson & Johnson and teens.

Appointments are available for Johnson & Johnson on Friday at the Jefferson Healthcare Drive Thru Immunization Clinic. Johnson & Johnson is a single dose vaccine for those 18 and older. Moderna appointments can be scheduled for Thursday with a second dose appointment June 3. Moderna is a two-dose vaccine for individuals 18 and older.

Additionally, Jefferson Healthcare will administer the Pfizer vaccine (the only vaccine approved for use in those 16 and 17 at a special teen clinic on May 15 with a second dose appointment on June 5. Each teen is required to be accompanied by their legal guardian or have the original patient acknowledgement form — available on the Jefferson Healthcare website — signed by a legal guardian. No photographs, copies or over-the-phone verbal consent can be accepted.

Jefferson County residents or individuals who work in Jefferson County can schedule COVID-19 vaccine appointments directly from the Jefferson Healthcare Vaccine website. First and second dose appointments are scheduled simultaneously three and four weeks apart, depending on vaccine brand, at the same time for each appointment.

All vaccinations are done at the Drive Thru Immunization Clinic in Port Townsend.

The final initial dose Moderna clinic at Forks Community Hospital was held Friday. More information can be found at www.ForksHospital.org.

Appointments can be made on these websites when available: Walmart, Walmart.com/covidvaccine; Safeway, https://www. safeway.com/pharmacy.html; QFC, https://www.qfc.com/rx/covid- eligibility.

The state has created a vaccination locator at https://vaccinelocator.doh.wa.gov.

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