Improved reporting has revealed that Jefferson County’s COVID-19 case rate is in the high-risk category.
Once updated with an improved reporting system, Clallam County, now in the moderate-risk category, could see numbers rise, according to Dr. Allison Berry, health officer for Clallam and Jefferson counties.
“I think likely right now in Clallam we are undercounting our cases because so many people are doing home tests and then not reporting them to anyone,” Berry said.
One of the biggest differentiating factors between the two counties “is that we are doing better case ascertainment, so finding more cases related to home testing in Jefferson,” Berry said.
Over the past two years of the pandemic, Jefferson County has almost consistently reported lower COVID numbers than Clallam County due in part to a smaller population. But on Friday, the county reported a case rate of 270 cases per 100,000 compared to Clallam County’s 145 cases per 100,000.
That, Berry said, is due to Jefferson County’s more easily accessible reporting system.
“We have a really good reporting mechanism for Jefferson compared to Clallam, though we are looking at updating our reporting system in Clallam,” Berry said.
In Jefferson County, residents who test positive for COVID-19 at home can report to the county health department via its website and fill out a reporting form, which is at https://app.smartsheet.com/b/form/7146918f3f854cf6bfdfffc4f0191399.
Clallam County residents have had to call the COVID-19 hotline at the Clallam County Health Department to report positive results.
The update that Berry described will be available to Clallam County residents on Monday, not before, on the county health website. It will make it easier for Clallam County residents to report positive COVID-19 cases online via a similar form.
Berry believes the case rate for Clallam County is likely closer to 200 cases per 100,000.
“I think we need to make it easier for folks (in Clallam County) to report if they’re positive, but some of it I think also is politics,” Berry said.
“I think there are plenty of folks in Clallam who won’t tell us even if we make it easy, as opposed to Jefferson which is a little more open to reporting,” she continued.
Despite these increases, there have been no new deaths from COVID-19 in either county and there is no one from Jefferson County currently hospitalized with COVID-19.
However three Clallam County residents are hospitalized. One is at Olympic Medical Center the other two are out of the county, with one in intensive care.
Both counties saw more than 50 new cases of COVID-19 by Friday since Tuesday.
Clallam County’s total on Tuesday was 11,071; on Friday, it reported 11,130 cases, an increase of 59 cases.
Jefferson County’s total on Tuesday was 3,246; on Friday. it reported 3,298 cases, an increase of 52 cases.
The BA.2 subvariant of the Omicron variant of COVID-19 is now the dominant strain of the virus across the nation and on the Peninsula.
“At this point, we still see a decent amount of BA.1 but BA. 2 is really the majority of the cases we are seeing now,” Berry said.