As Clallam and Jefferson counties move into Phase 2, the number of new COVID-19 cases remains low on the North Olympic Peninsula.
Clallam County leads the state in the percentage people vaccinated with at least one dose, while Jefferson County leads the state, in counties with more than 10,000 people, in vaccinations of people with two doses.
But now isn’t the time for people to let their guards down, local health officers warned.
“The thing I always worry about is some people may think the virus is gone,” said Clallam County Health Officer Dr. Allison Berry during her weekly COVID-19 update Friday.
Clallam and Jefferson counties, along with Mason and Kitsap, move into Phase 2 today, which means that some restrictions are eased.
Berry agreed that this is the right time for the area to move into Phase 2. She urged people however to continue to take precautions such as wearing face masks, practicing social distancing, washing hands often and avoiding large gatherings.
Though Clallam County has had few new cases lately, the last minor outbreak in the county came from a birthday party, Berry noted.
“I think it is a safe time, but we need to continue to be thoughtful,” she said.
Berry said that the Northwest Region, which Clallam and Jefferson are a part of hit all four of the state’s COVID-19 “Roadmap to Recovery” metrics last week to allow moving to Phase 2.
Vaccination clinics in Port Angeles, Sequim and Forks were canceled this weekend because of snowy road conditions.
All appointments for Port Angeles for second-dose shots Saturday and Sunday will be moved forward one week to the weekend of Feb. 20-21. It will not be necessary to rebook an appointment for the second-dose shots; shots will be given on the same day and at the same time, just one week later, according to Clallam County Emergency Management.
However, those who have appointments this Saturday and Sunday for first-dose shots must reschedule their appointments.
The Forks vaccination clinic set for Saturday was also canceled.
Booking a COVID-19 vaccination shot is best done at the online booking site at vaccine.clallam.net/register. As additional information and opportunities get firmed up the new booking times open up on the county website, but close again once the available times are booked up.
Those who must schedule by phone can call 360-417-2430, but online is more efficient, volunteers said.
Those who have questions can send an email to [email protected] clallam.wa.us.
The Jamestown Family Health Clinic also closed the dose 2 COVID-19 vaccines at Carrie Blake Community Park in Sequim scheduled for Saturday.
All Dose 2 patients who were scheduled for Saturday can come to any of the dose 2 clinics scheduled over the next week from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Carrie Blake Community Park.
The clinics are Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday, Feb. 20
“We recommend those awaiting dose 2 to continue to check the Jamestown Family Health Clinic website, newspaper, and local radio for any updates,” said Brent Simcosky, director of health services for the tribe.
See jamestownhealth.org for more information.
Clallam County has vaccinated 18,260 people, about 24 percent of its population, Berry said Friday. She said about 10 percent of the people in the entire state of Washington have received at least one vaccine dose.
Berry said about 5 percent of the people in Clallam County have received both doses.
Locke said that 7,096 people in Jefferson County have received at least one vaccination. That is a little over 20 percent of the population of the county.
About 3,100 people in the county have received both doses, roughly 10 percent of the population. That leads the state of Washington in counties with more than 10,000 people.
Because of short supplies, Locke said Jefferson Healthcare gave out only second doses this past week.
Locke said new vaccines for first doses are expected to arrive in Jefferson County this week, though the date of the arrival is not certain. He pointed out that heavy snow is slowing down shipments throughout the country, not just Washington state.
Clallam County had one new case Friday and two more Saturday for 967 total since the pandemic began in March. There are 24 active cases in the county and the infection rate is 62 per 100,000 over the past two weeks, in the moderate risk range.
“This is the first time since November we’ve been in the moderate range,” Berry said.
Jefferson County had two new cases Friday and none Saturday. There are 18 active cases and an infection rate of 128.53 per 100,000 over the past two weeks, still in the high range. Locke thinks that number will drop Monday because it includes some big outbreaks from two or three weeks ago and there have been few cases in the county during the past week.
Sports Editor Pierre La Bossiere can be reached at [email protected],.com.