Nation passes 1M COVID deaths

First-time vaccine rates up in Clallam

There were no new deaths from COVID-19 on the Peninsula on Monday, but the nation crossed the 1 million mark over the weekend.

“It’s a great loss to our society. All the people we have lost to COVID-19, and so many of those deaths were preventable,” said Dr. Allison Berry, the health officer for Clallam and Jefferson counties. “Not all of them were, certainly the early deaths related to COVID-19, before we knew how to treat it and how to prevent it, but so many of the deaths in the last year, we could have prevented.”

Berry added with such a great loss of life, it is likely that everyone knows at least one person who has lost someone to the virus.

”We don’t always realize that we have neighbors and friends who have lost family and friends to this virus,” she said. “It’s a good reminder for us to be gentle with each other as we navigate these ongoing surges because you never know what your neighbors are experiencing and who they might have lost.”

Two deaths — one in Clallam County and the other a Jefferson County resident — died last week from COVID-19, breaking a nearly month-long streak of no local deaths from the virus.

To date, 112 have died from the virus in Clallam County since the pandemic began while 29 have died in Jefferson County.

Nationally, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention cited 257,000 deaths in people 75 to 85 years old, the most in any one age category, while the smallest number of deaths, at 330, were 5 to 15.

The majority of the deaths in Clallam were those in their 60s and 80s, with 29 in each age group, Berry said. The county lost 22 people in their 70s, 17 people in their 90s, seven people in their 40s, six in their 50s and two in their 30s.

Berry said the breakdown is likely similar for Jefferson County and that many of those who died who were 50 and younger were parents of young children.

Two Clallam County residents were hospitalized Monday with COVID-19. One, a child younger than 5, was at Olympic Medical Center in Port Angeles. The other, an adult, was in a hospital outside the county.

There were no Jefferson County residents hospitalized Monday for COVID-19.

Meanwhile, cases across the Peninsula continue to rise.

Clallam County added 137 new cases on Monday, bringing its total since the pandemic began from 11,982 to 12,119 with a case rate of 670 per 100,000 population.

Jefferson County added 66 new cases, bringing its total since the pandemic began from 3,704 to 3,770 with a case rate of 646 per 100,000.

Case rates are a reflection of cases reported during a two-week period. They are computed using a formula based on a 100,000 population even for counties that do not have 100,000 people living in them.

Vaccinations

According to the CDC, at least 82 percent of the country has received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, and more than half of those eligible have received at least one booster shot, but it’s getting more difficult to convince people to get vaccinated due to politics and burnout.

“We have had a relatively successful push in the last couple of months to increase the vaccination rate in Clallam County, so we have seen our first-time vaccination rates go up, unlike other parts of the country,” Berry said.

More than 75 percent of Clallam County is vaccinated, and at least 70 percent has been vaccinated and boosted.

In Jefferson County, 82 percent of the population is vaccinated with 77 percent boosted.

“We haven’t given up on getting people vaccinated and boosted, but I think at this point it’s an uphill battle,” Berry said. “There are a lot of folks who have made their decision on vaccines, but we will never give up. We’re always willing to keep trying,” Berry said.

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Reporter Ken Park can be reached by email at [email protected]

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