Local officials: Reopening should be taken slowly

One more COVID-19 case confirmed on Peninsula

North Olympic Peninsula health officials endorsed the reopening of certain outdoor activities Tuesday as one new COVID-19 case in the two counties was confirmed.

A Clallam County woman in her 20s was exposed to the new coronavirus in King County, bringing the total number of confirmed cases in Clallam County to 17.

“She left the county and got it and came back home,” said Dr. Allison Unthank, Clallam County health officer.

“She’s isolating at home right now.”

Nearly all of Clallam County’s confirmed cases have been out-of-county exposures, a sign that physical-distancing measures are working, Unthank said.

Jefferson County’s positive case tally remained at 28 on Tuesday for a 19th consecutive day. The county’s last confirmed COVID-19 case was reported April 9.

“We’ve seen a definite drop-off in positives,” said Dr. Tom Locke, Jefferson County health officer.

“We’re starting to institute the expanded testing criteria, although we have to do it in stages because we’re still not certain of the testing kit supplies.

“We’re told that that’s improving,” Locke added, “but no new test kits have been sent to Jefferson County yet.”

Health officials say increased COVID-19 testing is needed before the economy can begin to reopen.

Testing is now recommended for anyone with cold- or flu-like symptoms including cough, fever and shortness of breath.

Locke and Unthank each said they supported Gov. Jay Inslee’s partial reopening of outdoor activities such as fishing, golfing and day trips to state lands.

“That all seems reasonable,” Locke said.

“I think that those are relatively safe activities and can be done safely,” Unthank said.

“Given that we live very near a lot of recreation, I think that it will bring more people out here, and we need to be prepared for that,” Unthank added.

“Certainly, our own citizens should remember to practice good physical distancing between themselves and any visitors, and even among themselves when they’re out and doing recreational activity,” Unthank said.

Health officials continue to remind the public to keep at least 6 feet between themselves and others.

“I think the governor is trusting the people of Washington to do things in a safe and sensible way, and that’s my attitude, too,” Locke said.

“You have to let people take responsibility for themselves.”

Social gatherings are still not recommended and not allowed under Inslee’s stay-home order.

“We have seen some folks who are getting tired of social distancing starting to gather in small groups,” Unthank said.

“That is not a good idea. It is very possible to spread COVID-19 that way, so we’re really recommending that people try to stick with it as long as they can.”

As of Tuesday, Clallam County health officials had tested 1,120 for coronavirus and received 1,063 negative tests. Forty tests were pending.

Jefferson County had tested 790 for COVID-19 and received 759 negative tests. Three tests were pending.

No COVID-19-related deaths have been reported on the North Olympic Peninsula.

Locke said the COVID-19 outlook was “slowly improving in Washington state, with an emphasis on slowly.”

“I think we’re now doing better than most of the country, but what’s important for people to realize is the improvement is precarious,” Locke said.

“We could lose ground really quickly if we don’t stay to the current course.”


Reporter Rob Ollikainen can be reached at [email protected].

More in News

Bret Allen Kenney was in court on Friday.
$5 million bail set in officer assault

Man also a person of interest in homicide of his mother

Candidate filing week ends with list of hopefuls

Three contests to be on primary ballot

Housing, fish passage topics at county meetings

Government entities gather on North Olympic Peninsula

Clallam Farm Family of the Year nominations sought

The Clallam County Fair invites the public to submit… Continue reading

Brian King, left, and Marc Titterness.
Candidates for sheriff debate during forum

Wraparound services, staffing among issues discussed

Dick Richardson, volunteer coordinator of the U.S. Light House Society, shows off the 1880’s French made fresnel lens at the top of the Point Wilson Light at Fort Worden State Park. The society is the caretaker of the lighthouse, under a license from the U.S. Coast Guard. Public tours are conducted from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. Because of liability issues and Coast Guard regulations, the top floor, where the lens is located, will be off limits. (Steve Mullensky/for Peninsula Daily News)
Lighthouse tours

Dick Richardson, volunteer coordinator of the U.S. Light House Society, shows off… Continue reading

Port sunsets discount program

Storage had been half price if prepaid

The Worthington Mansion restoration includes 9,000 cedar shingles that were hand dipped bay volunteers two years ago. They are installed on the mansard roof. The top floor of the mansion which is the interior of the roof area is envisioned to become a library area and meeting space. (Peninsula Daily News file)
Worthington Mansion volunteers to cut the ribbon

Overnight stays expected to begin in June

Construction tentatively finishes this week at the new Woodcock Road roundabout. (Bob Lampert)
Woodcock Road roundabout to tentatively finish May 20

Work on the Woodcock Road/Sequim-Dungeness Way roundabout is expected to… Continue reading

Most Read