One new COVID-19 case in Jefferson; none in Clallam

Recent Jefferson cases primarily through out-of-county contacts

One new case of COVID-19 was confirmed in Jefferson County on Tuesday, while Clallam County held steady with no new cases for the second consecutive day.

The majority of the recent cases in Jefferson County have been from out-of-county contacts or household members of other cases, said Dr. Tom Locke, Jefferson County health officer.

The newest case in Jefferson is currently hospitalized at Jefferson Healthcare hospital, Locke said.

Clallam County’s infection rate is now 22 cases per 100,000 residents for the last two weeks, while Jefferson County only updates its case rate on Monday. The most recent figure is 25.08 per 100,000 for the same time period.

Due to the low population of the county, one case makes a bigger difference to the rates of Jefferson County, so Locke doesn’t emphasize the daily changes, saying the weekly better represents the data, he said.

While always concerned about additional cases, they’re not unexpected, Locke said.

“This is what we expect to happen,” he said. “Cases are going to rise and fall.

“Cases are rising across the state and actually, virtually [all the new cases] are out-of county transmissions. So, they’re either people who had traveled out-of-county or had known exposures out of county.”

The Peninsula Daily News has heard from people concerned that they can’t tell by caller ID if a contact tracer call is from a health department.

While neither Clallam County Public Health or Jefferson County Public Health have numbers that consistently name them as such on caller ID, the numbers are normally local and if people do not answer, contact tracers will leave a voice mail message describing who they are with a callback number, said Locke and Clallam County Health Officer Dr. Allison Unthank.

“I wish it would, it would be nice if it did that,” Locke said. “But, it just might not be something that county system can accommodate.”

Unthank said: “I would say if you get a call, at this point I recommend you pick it up, just to make sure who it is.

“If it’s a sales person you can always hang up the phone, and if it’s one of us, we will identify ourselves.”

Both health officers would like the caller IDs to list them as the public health departments, but it’s not something that they can change, they said.

Unthank emphasized Tuesday the importance of people focusing on their mental health.

“We’re getting to the point of the response to the pandemic where we expect to see more mental health challenges related to the ongoing disaster response,” she said. “This is something we anticipate with any major disaster, and we as a community and as a county are going through a disaster.

“We’re encouraging folks to pay attention to their mental health. It is very normal at this point during a disaster response to feel burned out, feeling overly anxious, tired or depressed,” she continued.

“The fastest way we can move to a better place both physically and mentally is keeping our virus numbers under control.”

Unthank recommends people contact friends and family through phone, email or some other form of communication and to find something enjoyable that can be done safely.

Other ways to help is reach out to others who may be struggling, and Unthank is recommending people save the crisis hotline numbers into their phones for additional support.

The crisis line from Volunteers of America is 1-800-584-3578. Those who prefer texted conversations can go to imhurting.org.

Jefferson County has confirmed 80 cases of COVID-19 since March, with nine active cases and no deaths, according to Jefferson County Public Health data.

Clallam County has confirmed 259 cases of COVID-19 since March, with seven active cases and one death, according to Clallam County Public Health data.

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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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