Peninsula case rates reach mandate-lifting benchmark

Masking indoors continues to be recommended

Both Jefferson and Clallam County reported COVID-19 case rates well below the 200-cases-per-100,000 benchmark for Friday’s lifting of the proof-of-vaccination order.

Clallam County checked in with a case rate of 171 per 100,000 population on Friday, while Jefferson County, which updates its case rates each Friday, reported 189 cases per 100,000.

“We are in the exact position we hoped to be in with the lifting of both the proof of vaccination and masking mandates,” said Dr. Allison Berry, health officer for Jefferson and Clallam counties.

The statewide lifting of the mandatory masking mandate occurred Saturday, though health officials encourage people to wear masks indoors in areas with moderate-to-high case rates (100 cases per 100,000 or higher).

Both Clallam and Jefferson counties are at a moderate risk level, so it is recommended that residents wear face masks in indoor settings.

Both counties have graphics on their websites — https://jeffersoncountypublichealth.org/1466/Case-Information and https://www.clallam.net/coronavirus/ — to indicate the level of risk of catching COVID-19.

Expects more cases

Berry said she anticipates that both counties will see a slight bump in COVID-19 cases in the coming weeks with the lifting of the masking mandates, but that bump shouldn’t be so significant as to overwhelm the regional hospital systems as they have before.

Jefferson County reported no new cases on Friday. Its total since the pandemic began is 3,124.

Clallam County added nine new COVID-19 cases Friday, bringing its case rate since the pandemic began from 10,844 on Thursday to 10,853 on Friday.

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

Jefferson County on Friday reported 25 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 Friday that the average daily number of cases was 11.

There are currently two Jefferson County residents hospitalized with COVID-19. Both are in hospitals outside the county, with one in an intensive care unit (ICU).

Seven Clallam County residents have been hospitalized with COVID-19. Two are hospitalized at Olympic Medical Center in Port Angeles, two are hospitalized at Jefferson Healthcare in Port Townsend, and the other three are in hospitals outside the county.

The three outside the county as well as one at OMC are in ICUs.

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

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