Health officer: Masks prime component of Phase 3 success

PORT TOWNSENDHealth Officer Dr. Tom Locke is confident in Jefferson County’s ability to move into Phase 3 of Gov. Jay Inslee’s Safe Start program so long as people continue to maintain social distancing practices and wear masks.

“The science is telling us that masks will be crucial for us to move forward with Phase 3 openings,” Locke said.

The Jefferson County Board of Health will meet at 2:30 p.m. today to discuss possibly applying for Phase 3, as well as viewing racism as a public health issue.

Phase 3 will allow groups of 50 or fewer to gather, restaurants to operate at 75 percent capacity and gyms, movie theaters, libraries, museums and government buildings to open at 50 percent capacity.

“All of that creates more opportunity to be exposed to the virus, and we now know that 40-to-50 percent of people with the virus don’t have symptoms, so they don’t even know they’re infected and are out there in the community,” Locke said.

”But if they’re wearing masks, they won’t spread it to other people.”

Everyone who does not have a medical exemption should wear a face covering, Locke said.

“People who see this as some sort of personal choice or expression of individual liberty or, worst of all, some kind of political expression, they have to get past that. This has nothing to do with politics and has everything to do with biology.”

The bottom line according to Locke is that if people can’t wear masks while the county moves into Phase 3 and cases go up, things will go back to Phase 2 or earlier.

“If we’re not successful at convincing more people to wear masks, and maintain physical distance and consistent hand-washing, Phase 3 won’t last,” Locke said. “We only move forward if we can control the infection.”


Reporter Ken Park can be reached at [email protected]

More in News

Sylvia Snell of Bremerton, No. 204, leads a pack of 5K and 10K runners in the rain to the finish line in Blyn at the Jamestown S’Klallam Glow run Saturday night. Snell ran in the 5K, along with Julie Dunlap, No. 201, at left. Kimberly DaArton, No. 500, ran in the 10K. (Run the Peninsula)
Head lamps light up path for Jamestown S’Klallam run

Women’s 10K race highlights last event in marathon series

Kenzie Bechtold and Emery Fletcher ride in a gingerbread float created by Melissa Hitzfeld, Sarah Fletcher and Erica Bechtold during the Forks Twinkle Lights Parade on Saturday on Forks Avenue. (Lonnie Archibald/for Peninsula Daily News)
Twinkle lights parade

By Lonnie Archibald For Peninsula Daily News Kenzie Bechtold and Emery Fletcher… Continue reading

The Kiwanis Choo Choo pulled onto Taylor Street in downtown Port Townsend for the community Christmas tree lighting Saturday evening. The lighted, horn-sounding train will make another appearance in Uptown and downtown Port Townsend this coming Saturday. (Diane Urbani de la Paz/Peninsula Daily News)
Choo Choo arrives

The Kiwanis Choo Choo pulled onto Taylor Street in downtown Port Townsend… Continue reading

Volunteer Kirsti Turella helps Desirae Cortez look for just the right toy for her children in 2020 at Toys for Sequim Kids. The Sequim Community Aid sponsored event takes place Dec. 15 at Sequim Prairie Grange. (Matthew Nash/Olympic Peninsula News Group)
Toys for Sequim Kids drive seeks donations

Event on Dec. 15 at Sequim Grange

Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News
Pro-choice supporter Brian Hogan of Port Angeles, left, stands near pro-life supporter Jim Hanley oif 'Sequim across from Planned Parenthood in Port Angeles last week.
Signs outside Planned Parenthood display convictions

Protesters gather in Port Angeles as U.S. Supreme Court hears arguments on Mississippi abortion law

Cherish Cronmiller
Contributions aid change in the way things are

By Cherish Cronmiller OlyCAP executive director “The Way It Is” is a… Continue reading

More time given for vaccine mandate challenge

Injunction hearing now Dec. 13

Bentrinck range operations scheduled

The Royal Canadian Navy has announced that the land-based… Continue reading

Most Read