Four more die of COVID-19, Peninsula health officer reports

Vaccination clinics for children expected to begin soon

Four Clallam County men were reported on Tuesday to have died of COVID-19, raising the total number of deaths in the county to 64 and the total on the North Olympic Peninsula to 81 since the pandemic began.

Of the four, two men — one in his 60s and one in his 80s — were unvaccinated against the virus, while the other two were both vaccinated, according to Dr. Allison Berry, health officer for Clallam and Jefferson counties. Both of the vaccinated men had underlying health conditions. One was in his 70s and was a long-term care resident and the other was in his 90s living independently, she said.

One of the men died on Monday and two died last week with officials notified late Monday; Berry said did not have the date of death available for the fourth.

Berry offered her condolences to the families of the men.

“I think the breakdown of these deaths really highlights two key things,” she said. “We’re still seeing deaths among unvaccinated individuals living in our community, and we are seeing deaths among our very elderly, very frail individuals who are fully vaccinated.

“It is for their protection that the rest of us get vaccinated,” she said.

“Their vaccine alone can’t fully protect them, so we need to do our part to reduce the risk of transmitting the infection to them.”

The long-term care facility resident who died was at a facility that has been managing an outbreak of 19 cases. To date, five of those people have died.

That facility’s outbreak is nearing two weeks without a new confirmed case, Berry said.

Another long-term care facility in Clallam County is under an outbreak investigation; four cases were confirmed there in the past week, Berry said.

No new deaths were reported in Jefferson County, which has reported a total of 17 residents who have died of COVID-19 since the pandemic began.

According to the latest data from the state Department of Health, 80.5 percent of the population 12 and older in Jefferson County have started vaccinations, with 76.8 percent fully vaccinated.

Of the entire population, 74 percent have begun vaccination and 70.7 percent are fully vaccinated, according to the state’s dashboard.

In Clallam County, 74.8 percent of the population 12 and older have started vaccinations, with 70.1 percent fully vaccinated.

Of the total population, 66.5 percent have begun vaccinations, with 62.3 percent fully vaccinated, according to the state’s dashboard.

Children’s vaccine

On Tuesday afternoon, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s advisory panel recommended Pfizer’s vaccine be made available to 5- to 11-year-olds. The CDC director needs to sign off on it, and the Western State’s Advisory Group also must approve it before doses can be administered in Washington state.

Those approvals are expected to be announced today or Thursday, and vaccination clinics for that age group are expected to begin as early as next week, Berry said.

Berry predicted that, by the end of next week, health officials on the Peninsula could have enough of the pediatric doses — which are one-third of the doses given to teens and adults — to fully vaccinate any members of the new age group requesting the vaccine.

Specific plans for vaccination events in each county involving the new age group will be announced once the vaccine has received the two final approvals.

Clallam County added 17 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday, raising its total to 4,931 since the pandemic began, according to county public health data.

Jefferson County added five new cases Tuesday, raising its total to 1,169 since the pandemic began, according to county public health data.

Clallam County recorded 317 cases per 100,000 population for the past two weeks as of Tuesday, staying where it has been since last week, according to public health data.

Jefferson County’s case rate decreased slightly to 250.78 per 100,000 for the two weeks prior as of Oct. 27. Before that, the case rate was 253.92 per 100,000 for the two weeks prior as of Oct. 20, according to public health data.

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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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