Most COVID-19 cases at long-term care facility outbreak tied to one person

Officials waiting for 1B, 1C designations

One more COVID-19 positive connected to an outbreak at a Clallam County long-term care facility was reported Monday, raising the total number of cases tied to the facility to 19.

Clallam County Health Officer Dr. Allison Berry Unthank said 18 of the cases have been traced to a single employee.

“We’re not seeing cases of ongoing transmission, which is good,” she said in a Monday interview.

Berry Unthank said 10 staff and nine residents of the care facility have tested positive for COVID-19.

In all, Clallam County reported five new positives Monday, giving it 766 cases since the pandemic began last March. The county has 52 active cases and one person in the hospital. A previously hospitalized patient has been discharged, according to public health data.

The Clallam County infection rate is 121 per 100,000 population during the past two weeks, down from much of November and December but still in the state’s high-risk category. The test positivity rate is 2.7 percent, although it was higher — 4.9 percent — from Dec. 18 to Jan. 1.

Jefferson County has reported 233 total cases since last March, with five additional cases reported late Monday. The county has as many as 19 active cases in isolation.

The Jefferson County infection rate has grown from 62.70 per 100,000 last week as there have been 13 positives since Thursday. The test positivity rate is 1.48 percent, and the infection rate is 87.77 per 100,000, in the state’s moderate-risk range.

Jefferson and Clallam counties may break the 1,000-case barrier combined today. The North Olympic Peninsula counties have reported a total of 999 COVID-19 positives since last March.


Berry Unthank said Clallam County will finish vaccinating members of the 1A group this week. These people include first responders, frontline health care workers and patients and staff at long-term care facilities.

Clallam and Jefferson counties continue to wait word from the state Department of Health on which specific groups will be included in the 1B and 1C designations, the next to receive vaccinations. Likely members of the 1B group may include people older than 75 and people with high-risk underlying health problems such as diabetes, cancer or other immunity deficiencies.

“There’s so many people deserving,” Berry Unthank said.

Other essential workers such as grocery store employees may end up in the 1C group.

Berry Unthank said the 1B group vaccinations could begin as early as mid-January.

“Age is probably the most significant factor,” Jefferson County Health Officer Dr. Tom Locke told the Board of County Commissioners at his weekly update Monday.

Locke said local officials have been hoping to receive official word from the state on the 1B and 1C designations.

“We need them sooner rather than later,” he said.

Locke also said Jefferson County has administered 970 vaccines so far and has 980 ready to go for a second round of shots for first responders. He said a second shipment of vaccines is expected possibly as early as today.

“We’ve vaccinated 61 percent of our 1A group,” he said. “We don’t think we’ll get to 100 percent. We don’t think 100 percent will consent.”

Locke said there a state website called Phase Finder will help tell Washington residents where they might be in line for the vaccine. That site is expected to go online as early as Wednesday.

In addition to information regarding 1B and 1C vaccine categories, schools also are waiting guidance from the state in the next day or two regarding new metrics for allowing athletics and extra-curricular activities at schools.


Berry Unthank said there hasn’t been a noticeable uptick in Clallam County from the holiday period, but she stressed it’s too early to tell if there will be a case surge from people traveling.

“It’s still pretty early,” she said. “We can’t get too excited yet.

Berry Unthank said no one has reported directly to her anything about large New Year’s Eve parties, but she hoped people didn’t hold large gatherings for the holiday.

“I hope people would keep gatherings small and outside,” she said.


Sports editor Pierre LaBossiere can be reached by email at

More in News

Crystal Heap of Lynden admires a lavender bouquet as her daughter, Lillian, 6, looks on at Old Barn Lavender Company near Sequim on Saturday, part of Sequim Lavender Weekend. (Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News)
Fresh lavender in Sequim fields

Crystal Heap of Lynden admires a lavender bouquet as her daughter, Lillian,… Continue reading

District adding community paramedic

Program designed to help frequent 9-1-1 callers

“Remember Me,” the large-scale mural on the American Legion-Jack Grennan Post 62 hall, was unveiled at a public event on Saturday. (Melissa Klein)
American Legion mural displays World War I hero

‘Remember Me’ includes portrait of Jack Grennan

Sequim council enacts remote public comment procedure

Participants who want to speak remotely must sign in by 3 p.m. on meeting day

Operations scheduled at Bentinck range this week

The land-based demolition range at Bentinck Island will be… Continue reading

Weekly flight operations scheduled

There will be field carrier landing practice operations for aircraft… Continue reading

U.S. Sen. Patty Murray, D-Seattle, center, walks on a trail in Neah Bay with Tribal Chairman Timothy J. Greene Sr., left, and others. (Sen. Murray's office)
Murray tours West End facilities

Senator secured funding for road, medical center

Olympic Medical Heart Center director Leonard Anderson examines a new echocardiograph at the Port Angeles hospital facility. (Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News)
Foundation donation aids OMC’s heart center

Echocardiogram machine to help more patients receive care locally

OMC providing facts about Proposition 1

Hospital sees $2.2M in savings following consultant tips

From left, Leland Gibson, Tucker Piontek and Jeff Matthews are lowered into the water aboard Fern, a Nordic folk boat commissioned by Michigan resident Charles Jahn, who was present to see his boat in the water for the first time on Friday at Port Townsend’s Boat Haven Marina. Fern was built over three years by three separate classes of students at The Northwest School of Wooden Boatbuilding. (Elijah Sussman/Peninsula Daily News)
Boat launched in Port Townsend

From left, Leland Gibson, Tucker Piontek and Jeff Matthews are lowered into… Continue reading

Maya DeLano, executive assistant at Composite Recycling Technology Center, demonstrates the durability of recycled carbon fiber during a job fair on Friday organized by the Port Angeles Chamber of Commerce at the Vern Burton Community Center. (Christopher Urquia/Peninsula Daily News)
Job fair in Port Angeles

Maya DeLano, executive assistant at Composite Recycling Technology Center, demonstrates the durability… Continue reading

Three generations of Bike the US for MS riders — from left, Michael Davies, Jordyn Davies and Richard Davies — visit the Sequim MS Support Group. (Sequim MS Support Group)
Bike the US for MS makes stop in Sequim

The Sequim Multiple Sclerosis Support Group continued its tradition of… Continue reading