PORT ANGELES — Clallam County added five new confirmed cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday while Jefferson County had no new cases for a second day in a row, health officials said.
All five of Clallam County’s latest cases appear to have had contact with other recent cases, Clallam County Health Officer Dr. Allison Unthank said.
“The concerning trend we’re seeing in our recent cases is people who report that they did go to work when they were sick, and primarily went to work because they had mild symptoms and thought that meant that they couldn’t have COVID,” Unthank said in a Wednesday interview.
“So the biggest message I want to get out today is that very mild symptoms can be COVID, and you should definitely never go to work sick.”
The latest cases brought Clallam County’s total to 110 since March. Jefferson County’s case count held at 54.
“We’ve been doing this long enough that people are kind of falling back into old habits and going to work when they have mild symptoms and toughing it out, which is a really dangerous thing to do,” Unthank said.
“So we’re really encouraging everyone: stay home if you’re sick and do go get tested right away.”
Clallam County health officials reported 18 cases of COVID-19 for the week ending Wednesday and 38 cases within the last two weeks.
Jefferson County had four cases for the week ending Wednesday after a two-week pause in new cases.
“I always want to be hopeful to say these relatively low levels are a sign that the majority of people are doing the right things, are doing the masking and distancing and hand washing that we know are crucial,” Jefferson County Health Officer Dr. Tom Locke said.
“We always ask ourselves, too, ‘Are we doing enough testing? Are we missing cases?’ But we are doing a lot of testing. The (Jefferson Healthcare) hospital is just doing a great job of that.”
Jefferson County health officials had conducted 5,100 tests as of Wednesday with 54 positive, 4,985 negative and 61 tests pending, according to the county’s public health website.
“I think what we’re seeing is as close as we can get to a true representation of what’s going on,” Locke said.
Clallam County health officials had tested 9,219 samples with 105 positives, 8,935 negatives and 179 pending as of Wednesday.
The county’s COVID-19 website had not been updated with the five new cases as of 3:30 p.m. Wednesday.
Unthank stressed the importance of staying home when sick to help prevent COVID-19 transmission.
“Whenever we see folks working while sick, it never seems to be that they’re meaning any harm,” Unthank said.
“They just think they couldn’t have COVID. So really, that’s our biggest messaging right now is that mild symptoms can be COVID, so take it very seriously.”
Reporter Rob Ollikainen can be reached at [email protected].