About 10 anti-vaccination protestors gather outside the Port Townsend High School campus Wednesday afternoon, holding a variety of signs such as "the vaccine is slow euthanasia" and equating getting the COVID-19 vaccine to playing a game of Russian roulette. (Zach Jablonski/Peninsula Daily News)

COVID-19 increase slows slightly in Clallam

Case rate still very high, health officer says

The rate of increase of new COVID-19 cases is slowing slightly in Clallam County — and perhaps also in neighboring Jefferson County — but the rate is still high, according to the health officer for Clallam and Jefferson counties.

“We’re really starting to see a plateau at this point (in Clallam County), but that plateau is very high and unsustainable,” Berry said.

“We’re glad to see it leveling off and not continuing to skyrocket, but it’s still a very dangerous rate, and we need to see much less transmission in order to have our hospitals and long-term care facilities be safe.”

On Wednesday, Clallam County added 69 new COVID-19 cases, raising its total number to 3,718 since the pandemic began, according to county public health data. On Tuesday, 68 new cases were confirmed. Last week, most days saw 100 or more new cases.

Clallam County’s case rate is 1,216 per 100,000 population for the past two weeks as of Wednesday. That’s down from 1,239 per 100,000 for the past two weeks as of Tuesday.

Jefferson County added 13 new cases on Wednesday, raising its total to 900 since the pandemic began, according to county public health data. Jefferson County calculates its case rate weekly and recorded 532.92 per 100,000 for the two weeks prior as of Saturday.

Berry attributed the slowing of new cases to people wearing face masks and following the health mandate regarding only vaccinated residents sitting indoors in bars and restaurants and avoiding gatherings.

“We are potentially starting to see the effects of the order,” Berry said. “We’re seeing less transmission related to those high-risk areas, but it’s definitely not a time to let your guard down right now.

“There’s a lot of COVID-19 still in our community, but it’s a marker that what we’re doing is starting to work. If you’ve gotten vaccinated, great; thank you. If you’re wearing a mask, great; thank you. Keep doing that.”

Long-term care

The long-term care facility outbreaks on the North Olympic Peninsula appear to be slowing, with the Jefferson County facility having 22 COVID-19 cases, including 17 residents infected, and the four Clallam County facilities having a combined total of 119 cases, with the largest holding at 65 cases for the past few days, Berry said.

The second largest outbreak in Clallam County is at 25 cases, Berry said.

Berry does not identify facilities where a COVID-19 outbreak takes place if the team is able to contract trace exposures.

In a PDN story published Sunday, Berry confirmed the largest outbreak in a long-term care facility in Clallam County was at Sequim Health & Rehabilitation, which recorded 65 cases as of Saturday.

Berry and her team have been working closely with the facilities to support their infection prevention policies, and also, in partnership with Jefferson Healthcare and Jim’s Pharmacy, to provide monoclonal antibody treatments to infected and exposed residents, Berry said.

“We’ve seen a lot success there in slowing the virus,” Berry said. “We’re unfortunately seeing shortages of monoclonal antibodies — there’s so many people across the state and country that need them — but we’re prioritizing them for this work.”

Monoclonal antibody treatment is used to help prevent positive COVID-19 cases from developing into severe cases that require hospitalization, but it is not a replacement for the vaccine.

Sequim council

Berry brought up the resolution approved Monday night by the Sequim City Council in opposition to public health mandates, saying she wants to clarify for businesses in doubt that the city council does not have the authority to overrule a public health order from the state or county.

Restaurants and businesses are required to follow the orders for indoor mask wearing and indoor dining being for only fully vaccinated patrons, she said.

“That resolution is just a statement, but it doesn’t actually change the order in any way,” Berry said.

Despite the council’s action, the health order to provide proof of vaccination remains in effect in the Sequim area, she added.

Anti-vaccination protest

On Wednesday afternoon, a group of about 10 anti-vaccination protesters gathered outside the Port Townsend High School campus, holding signs in opposition to the COVID-19 vaccine.

One sign said, “the vaccine is slow euthanasia.”

A small group of students engaged with the protesters, with one student saying, “I’m vaccinated and I’m very much alive.”

Soon after, one of the protesters asked a student, “Are you a fascist?”

Students are not mandated to be vaccinated for COVID-19. Those 12 and older are eligible to receive the vaccine.


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

More in News

Jason Minnoch, left, and Jim deBord move a set of musical chimes as Al Oman and Jo Johnston look on during preparations on Wednesday for Sunday’s playground opening of the Dream Playground at Erickson Playfield in Port Angeles. The playground, rebuilt by volunteers in May after much of it was destroyed by arson in December, will host an official reopening and dedication ceremony at 3 p.m. Sunday. (Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News)
Reopening ceremony Sunday

Jason Minnoch, left, and Jim deBord move a set of musical chimes… Continue reading

Port Townsend, YMCA sued over 2022 pool ban

Confrontation with transgender employee at center of lawsuit

More muscle than wind in Phase 2 of Race to Alaska

Winds die down, force sailors to alternate with human power

Chris Fidler.
Port Angeles man honored with Distinguished Alumni award

Chris Fidler of Port Angeles has received the Distinguished Alumni… Continue reading

Members of the Makah Tribe bring a gray whale to shore on May 18, 1999. A federal ruling Thursday will allow the tribe to take 25 whales in a 10-year period. (Peninsula Daily News file)
Makah Tribe granted waiver to hunt gray whales

Ruling to allow tribe 25 in 10-year period

Team Roscoe Pickle Train of Port Townsend, which includes Chris Iruz, Enzo Dougherty, Odin Smith and Pearl Smith, were first out of the Victoria Inner Harbour at the start of the Race to Alaska on Tuesday. The cannon fired at noon and 38 racers headed to Ketchikan, a 750-mile contest that started in Port Townsend on Sunday. (Steve Mullensky/for Peninsula Daily News)
Racers restart in Victoria on their way to Alaska

One rescued by Coast Guard; two others try wheeling over land

Sequim city council members approved a $2.45 million purchase of 16.52 acres off West Hendrickson Road to be used for a future park. It remains closed to the public as it’s being leased for agricultural use until plans and funding can be put in place for the future park. (Matthew Nash/Olympic Peninsula News Group)
Sequim purchases 16 acres for park

City negotiated with McCord family for 2 years

Clallam sheriff pursuing $9.6M grant for public safety facility

Defense program geared to supporting military installations

Kayakers to attempt to cross strait on Friday

Six kayakers will attempt to paddle south across the… Continue reading

Jefferson PUD has bought the former AP&T building at 193 Otto St. in Port Townsend.
Jefferson PUD purchases office building for expansion

The Jefferson County Public Utility District commissioners have approved… Continue reading

East Jefferson Fire Rescue crews respond to a structure fire in the 300 block of West Kinkaid Street. A garage was destroyed.
Fire destroys garage in Irondale

A fire destroyed a garage in the 300 block of… Continue reading

Lindsey Sehmel.
Sequim hires director of community and economic development

The city of Sequim has hired Lindsey Sehmel as its… Continue reading