New COVID-19 cases in single digits

Berry comments on Test to Treat initiative

New confirmed cases of COVID-19 were in the single digits in Clallam and Jefferson counties on Wednesday — the first time in a long while that has been seen.

And it was the compilation of two days worth of cases.

Clallam County reported nine new cases, bringing its total cases since the pandemic began from 10,772 on Monday to 10,781 on Wednesday. The county reported a case rate of 412 per 100,000 population.

Jefferson County reported eight new cases, bringing its total cases since the pandemic began from 3,074 on Monday to 3,082 on Wednesday. The county updates its case rate weekly, on Friday. The latest update reported a case rate of 525 per 100,000.

“We are really hopeful that this is an indication of a significant decrease in cases,” said Dr. Allison Berry, health officer for Clallam and Jefferson counties.

“So if we can keep that trajectory going, it will be safer to move into this next phase of the pandemic,” Clallam and Jefferson County Health Officer Dr. Allison Berry said.

Case rates are the reflection of cases reported over a two-week period.

They are computed using a formula based on 100,000 population for counties that do not have 100,000 people living in them.

Hospitalizations of those with COVID-19 also are trending downward in the two counties on the North Olympic Peninsula.

Six Clallam County residents were reported in the hospital with COVID-19 on Wednesday.

Two were at Olympic Medical Center in Port Angeles with four in hospitals outside the county.

Those four are in intensive care units, Berry said.

Five Jefferson County residents were reported in the hospital with COVID-19 with two at Jefferson Healthcare in Port Townsend and the other three in hospitals outside the county. One is in an ICU.

Jefferson County on Wednesday reported 71 people in isolation with active cases.

Clallam County does not report that metric but does report a daily average over a two-week period.

On its COVID-19 dashboard, Clallam County said on Wednesday that the average daily number of cases from Feb. 14 to Feb. 27 was 22.

No new deaths from the virus were reported in either county. Clallam County’s death toll since the pandemic began is 102 people, while Jefferson County has had 27 of its residents die of the virus since the pandemic began.

Berry weighed in on the announcement of the Test to Treat initiative introduced by President Joe Biden during Tuesday night’s State of the Union.

President Biden explained that the initiative would allow for people who test positive for COVID-19 to have access to immediate treatment with antiviral medications at no cost.

“Pfizer is working overtime to get us one million pills this month and more than double that next month,” Biden said in his speech.

Berry said she likes the plan, but is wary of its execution.

”I think it’s a great idea. There would have to be a lot of work done at the federal level to increase production and distribution of treatment,” she said.

“For me, this calls to mind the issues we faced about a year ago in the pandemic when the President said that anyone could get a test anytime they wanted to and we didn’t have tests available in Clallam County at that point. This feels very similar, I think it’s a good goal but it is not our current reality,” Berry said.

As of Wednesday, Clallam County had received between 20 and 40 COVID-19 treatments such as Paxlovid and had only ever received that amount at any given time since the pandemic began, according to Berry.

“We have nowhere near the treatment availability that would be needed to support a program like (test to treat),” Berry said.

”But I hope the State of the Union comments signal investment in improving the availability for treatment. Having easy access to those medications for those who qualify for them is an important part of managing the pandemic,” Berry said.


Reporter Ken Park can be reached at

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