Four more deaths reported on Peninsula

Berry: State overwhelmed by growing case numbers

COVID-19 claimed four more lives in Clallam County on Wednesday, while the state case reporting system lagged behind, reportedly overwhelmed by climbing numbers of cases.

Three of the men whose deaths were reported on Wednesday in Clallam County were in their 60s while one was in his 90s, according to Dr. Allison Berry, health officer for Clallam and Jefferson counties, which make up the North Olympic Peninsula.

Berry said all who died were unvaccinated and had underlying health conditions, although she did not know what the conditions were.

The new deaths bring Clallam County’s total since the pandemic began to 87. Jefferson County’s total deaths remained at 21.

Due to delays at the state level in COVID-19 case reporting, Clallam County did not have updated case numbers or rate on Wednesday.

“The state system is getting so overwhelmed with the number of cases that it’s having a difficult time getting data out to us,” Berry said.

As of Wednesday, 12 Clallam County residents were in a hospital with COVID-19.

Of those, 11 were at Olympic Medical Center and one was in a Kitsap County hospital. Three of the 12 patients are in an intensive care unit.

Jefferson County reported an increase of 36 cases on Wednesday, from 1,844 to 1,880. The county’s case rate will be updated Friday.

Berry said at least six people remain in the hospital at Jefferson Healthcare, and none have been transferred to ICU. The county reported no new deaths.

Berry once again urged that people get vaccinated and receive booster shots.

As of Wednesday, at least 71 percent of Clallam County’s total population and 75 percent of Jefferson County’s were fully vaccinated.

Berry said that although the omicron variant may be considered less severe than delta, it remains a real threat to health.

“There is incomplete messaging around the omicron variant,” Berry said.

“While it is milder compared to the delta variant, it’s still very dangerous for those who are unvaccinated.”

She also said calling the variant mild is a slap in the face to the families who have lost loved ones.

“It was not mild for them or their families,” Berry said.

Washington state on the whole has reported more than 888,000 COVID-19 cases since the pandemic began and will likely surpass 1 million cases in the coming days, according to the state Department of Health.

As cases rise, so will deaths, Berry predicted.

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Reporter Ken Park can be reached by email at kpark@peninsuladaily news.com.

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