COVID-19 death reported in Jefferson County

Rise noted in cases from Thanksgiving gatherings

Another death of a Jefferson County resident due to COVID-19 has been reported, raising the number of that county’s deaths ascribed to the virus to 20 since the pandemic began and the number of deaths on the North Olympic Peninsula to 92 during that time period.

The newest death, which was reported Friday, was a man in his 50s who was unvaccinated. He was diabetic, said Dr. Allison Berry, health officer for Jefferson and Clallam counties.

Berry expressed condolences to the man’s friends and family and stressed the importance of vaccinations for preventing severe cases of COVID-19.

“It is the number one best thing you can do to reduce your risk of hospitalization and death from COVID-19,” Berry said regarding getting vaccinated.

“If you have any questions surrounding the COVID-19 vaccine, please do talk to your primary care provider. They’re more than happy to talk to you about risks and benefits.

“It’s such an important step we can take,” she continued.

“We don’t want to see any more young people die from this virus. We don’t want to see anyone die really, but these deaths in young people are entirely preventable.”

Clallam County had no additional deaths reported Friday. The county has had 72 residents die from COVID-19 since the pandemic began.

No new information about additional cases or deaths will be available until Monday.

Thanksgiving infections

As of Friday, both counties have had multiple reports of residents contracting COVID-19 from a variety of Thanksgiving gatherings and those reports are only expected to increase, Berry said.

“We’ll start to see more and more of that next week,” Berry said. “It’s concerning to be seeing that already.”

One outbreak has been noted from a Thanksgiving gathering. That is an outbreak of 10 cases, with six of them children.

Health officials continue to strongly urge all residents 5 and older to get vaccinated, especially before gathering and traveling for other December holidays such as Christmas, Berry said.

“If you got vaccinated now, you can get two doses in before Christmas,” Berry said, highlighting that people may not be “fully vaccinated” by then, meaning two weeks after their second dose, however they will still have better protection than those who are unvaccinated.

Residents also can use the state’s vaccination locator at www.vaccinelocator.doh.wa.gov/?language=en to find children’s vaccinations, booster doses and initial vaccinations.

Berry has noted a small uptick in vaccinations of children 5-to-11-years-old, with 26 percent of children within that age group having received at least one dose in Jefferson County, and 14 percent within that age group receiving at least one dose in Clallam County, Berry said.

New cases

On Friday, Clallam County added 17 cases of COVID-19. The county has confirmed a total of 5,328 cases since the start of the pandemic, county health data said.

Jefferson County added nine new cases on Friday. The county has confirmed a total of 1,322 cases since the pandemic began, according to county public health data.

Clallam County is seeing its case rate creeping higher as cases from the holiday continue to come in.

On Friday it had a case rate of 189 per 100,000 population for the past two weeks as of Thursday. On Monday, the county had a case rate of 167 per 100,000 population for the past two weeks as of Monday, according to county public health data.

Jefferson County’s case rate increased to be higher than Clallam’s for the first time since summer.

Due to the county’s small population, the case rates change frequently week to week, Berry said.

The county recorded a case rate of 214.35 cases per 100,000 for the two weeks prior as of Dec. 1, according to county public health data. Jefferson County health officials had recorded a case rate of 192.61 per 100,000 for the two weeks prior as of Nov. 17 .

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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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