New COVID positives slowing, but official concerned about misinformation

Jefferson County health officer to address board today

PORT TOWNSEND — Jefferson County had no new COVID-19 cases reported this weekend and only one case reported since Thursday, giving health officials hope that clusters of new cases in the county in the past week or two may be drawing to a close.

Jefferson County had one new positive reported Friday and none Saturday and Sunday, said county Health Officer Dr. Tom Locke.

Clallam County likewise had a quiet Sunday with no new positives reported, according to county Health Officer Dr. Allison Berry. The county had five positives reported Saturday.

“So far, so good,” Locke said. “We’ve gotten a lot better at controlling outbreaks.”

To date, Clallam County has had 954 positives since last March, with 57 active cases and five total deaths, including one death last week. The infection rate in the county is 82 per 100,000 population during the past two weeks.

Jefferson County has had 315 positives since last March and has 21 active cases. Its infection rate is 106.58 per 100,000 during the past two weeks, a number Locke expects will increase when it is recalculated today.

Locke said one reason for fewer positives in recent days may be because fewer people are getting tested.

“There’s a definite decrease in testing. I don’t fully understand it,” he said.

On Sunday, just 14 COVID-19 tests were pending in Jefferson County.

Locke said this phenomenon is happening around the country, not just in Jefferson County. He said he will discuss the decrease in testing with the Board of Jefferson County Commissioners during his weekly update today.

Locke said one reason for the decrease may be that people could think they are ineligible for the COVID-19 vaccine if they test positive. He said that isn’t true, and that once people have recovered from the virus, they can get the vaccination.

He also said the vaccine is more effective for providing immunity to COVID-19 than catching the virus.

Locke also is concerned about a Jefferson County group that may be spreading misinformation concerning the accuracy of the tests, claiming incorrectly that up to 90 percent of COVID-19 tests provide false positives.

Locke’s weekly update can be viewed at 9:45 a.m. today at www.tinyurl.com/jeffcomeetings. He said Jefferson Healthcare is not scheduling initial vaccinations at the moment and will instead be providing second vaccinations this week for people who have already gotten their first shot.

Locke said he hopes up to 2,000 people will receive their second doses this week.

“Vaccine supply is on the frontburner,” he said. “We’ll be working on convincing the (state) Department of Health to send us more.”

Clallam County is leading the state in percentage of the county’s population that has received vaccinations. Berry reported Friday that 14,700 people, or about 19 percent of the county, have received vaccinations.

She said 766 more were vaccinated in Port Angeles on Saturday and 800 on Sunday. Another 225 were vaccinated in Forks. Sequim numbers were not immediately available.

Meanwhile, about 16 percent of the Jefferson County population has been vaccinated.

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Sports editor Pierre LaBossiere can be reached by email at [email protected] news.com.

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