COVID-19 outbreak stems from Thanksgiving gathering

Cases among children on the rise

Clallam County Public Health officials were tracking on Thursday the first reported outbreak of COVID-19 stemming from a Thanksgiving gathering while reports of children infected with the virus increase.

On Thursday, an outbreak of 10 residents, connected to a family gathering last week, was reported in Clallam County, said Dr. Allison Berry, health officer for Clallam and Jefferson counties.

“We’re likely to see more of those in the near future,” Berry said. “It’s not unanticipated, but it is certainly concerning.

“We will be monitoring it closely and do what we can with contract tracing to minimize further spread from those cases to other individuals in the community.”

The current outbreak of 10 residents has six children sick with COVID-19, Berry said.

Eighteen children have tested positive for COVID-19 in last three days as of Thursday — all traced back to family gatherings, Berry said.

“It’s too early to call it a trend, but so far, it is one of the things we saw as high-risk, which is young children gathering at those Thanksgiving gatherings, kids who were either too young to be vaccinated or not yet vaccinated contracting the virus at Thanksgiving gatherings,” Berry said.

Berry said that more children 5 to 11 years old are getting vaccinated.

As of Nov. 26, about 24 percent of children 5 to 11 years old have received one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine in Jefferson County, while about 12 percent of that age group have started vaccinations in Clallam County, Berry has said.

The updated percentage of those residents getting vaccinated will be released today.

“We’re hopeful that that number will kick up,” Berry said.

Jefferson County Public Health and the Department of Emergency Management will host two Pfizer vaccination clinics in December for first and second doses for children 5 to 11.

The first clinic will be from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday at Blue Heron Middle School, 3939 San Juan Ave. in Port Townsend. Appointments can be scheduled at www.tinyurl.com/PDN-FirstClinic.

The second clinic will be from 9 a.m. to noon Dec. 18 at Chimacum Junior/Senior High School’s multi-purpose room at 93 West Valley Road in Chimacum. Appointments can be made at www.tinyurl.com/PDN-SecondClinic.

For those without internet access, appointments for the two clinics can made by calling the Department of Emergency Management at 360-344-9791.

In Port Angeles, Olympic Medical Center is spearheading the vaccinations for children, with walk-in appointments available on Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the hospital’s Front Street Clinic, 901 E. Front St. in Port Angeles.

More information on OMC vaccinations can be found at www.olympicmedical.org/covid-19-vaccine-information.

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

New cases

On Thursday, Clallam County added 16 cases of COVID-19. The county has confirmed a total of 5,311 cases since the start of the pandemic, county health data said.

Jefferson County added two cases on Thursday. The county has confirmed a total of 1,313 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 come in.

On Thursday it had a case rate of 179 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 will update its case rate today, due to last week’s holiday. Health officials recorded a case rate of 192.61 per 100,000 for the two weeks prior as of Nov. 17.

Berry does not expect a significant change to Jefferson County’s case rate to be reported today. There might be a slight increase, but, due to a smaller population, a rate in the high 100s to low 200s would be within expectations, she said.

No new deaths were reported Thursday. Since the pandemic began, Clallam County has had 72 residents die from COVID-19, while Jefferson County has had 19 residents die.

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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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