Long-term care center in Clallam reports 9 cases

County has 18 total positives; Jefferson adds 5

Another long-term care facility in Clallam County is under an outbreak investigation for COVID-19 after weekend testing confirmed nine cases among staff and residents.

Six residents and three staff members tested positive for the coronavirus, said Dr. Allison Unthank, Clallam County health officer.

Unthank will not name a facility that is under an outbreak investigation unless the Clallam County Public Health department is unable to trace contacts for potential exposures, she has said.

All staff and residents have been notified and were tested over the weekend after a staff member tested positive for COVID-19, Unthank said.

Clallam County confirmed 18 total cases of COVID-19 on Monday. Unthank said the additional county residents likely contracted the virus locally.

Jefferson County confirmed five new cases of COVID-19, including three females in Port Townsend, two teens and a woman in her 50s. The other two cases in mid-county include a female in her 30s and a male in his 70s, according to Jefferson County Public Health data.

Despite the new cases, the infection rates in both counties continue to drop, with Clallam County at 137 cases per 100,000 population for the past two weeks and Jefferson County at 59.56 per 100,000 for the same time period, according to county public health data.

Clallam County continues to be in the state’s high-risk category, while Jefferson County dropped to the moderate-risk category for the first time since November.

Vaccinations

Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine arrived in both counties last week, delivering a unit of 975 doses to each county, and Olympic Medical Center, Jefferson Healthcare and Forks Community Hospital have begun to administer the first doses to frontline medical workers.

Each county will receive another shipment of Pfizer’s vaccine this week, Unthank said.

Moderna’s vaccine was approved for use on Friday, and the first shipments of that vaccine may arrive as soon as this week on the Peninsula, but it may be next week or later, as it depends on the state dividing the shipments. State officials have not provided a specific timeframe to local officials, Unthank said.

The current phase of vaccine prioritization — known as Phase 1A — includes frontline health care workers, first responders and long-term care facility staff and residents.

As of Monday, Jefferson Healthcare had administered 467 doses of the vaccine to hospital staff and first responders, Dr. Tom Locke, Jefferson County health officer, said during his morning briefing with the Board of Jefferson County Commissioners.

“We’re moving as fast as we can,” Locke said.

Due to the limited amount of vaccine, Clallam County’s first shipment has been prioritized for frontline hospital workers and long-term care facilities, with the first round of vaccinations completed for the Forks Community Hospital staff and two long-term care facilities being completed Monday and today, Unthank said.

With the next shipment, Clallam County will extend into respiratory clinic staff and high-risk first responders this week and next, she said.

OMC hopes to finish all frontline hospital staff this week, Unthank said.

“We — because we don’t have enough vaccine for all of our group 1A — had to proritize even within health care workers,” Unthank said. “We prioritized frontline hospital staff first, and then we’re going to be moving into frontline first responders, and then those who work in the respiratory clinics, and then we’ll get to the rest of the health care workers next.

“That will likely be next week and the week after.”

The test positivity on the Peninsula — the percentage of tests returned positive — also dropped in both counties, to 4.2 percent in Clallam County for Dec. 4 through Dec. 18, and 1.13 percent in Jefferson County for Dec. 14 through Dec. 20.

So far this month, Clallam County has confirmed 171 cases, about 24.9 percent of the 687 the county has confirmed since March, according to Clallam County Public Health data.

Jefferson County has confirmed 37 cases of COVID-19, about 17.9 percent of the 207 the county has confirmed since March, according to Jefferson County Public Health data.

There are currently 67 active COVID-19 cases in Clallam County and 10 active cases in Jefferson County.

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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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