Peninsula low-infection rate in place despite new cases

5 in Clallam, 1 in Jefferson

Clallam and Jefferson counties have broken their long streak of remaining without new COVID-19 cases, with five reported in Clallam County and one in Jefferson.

Despite the new cases reported Friday, the infection rate in both counties remains low.

That means, said Clallam County Health Officer Dr. Allison Unthank, that some in-person school instruction may begin in early October. Jefferson County now has mostly hybrid scheduling in the schools.

Officials also said the heavy smoke that has rolled into the Olympic Peninsula area can make people more susceptible to COVID-19.

There were no new cases reported in either county Saturday.

The five new cases in Clallam are “primarily on the West End,” Unthank said in her Friday COVID-19 weekly update, with four out of the five cases locally transmitted.

This gives Clallam County 226 cases total since the pandemic began in March, with only 13 active cases now. These were the first positives in Clallam County in seven days.

Clallam’s infection rate remains at 21 per 100,000 over the past two weeks, which is in the ‘low risk” category. That is down considerably from a high point in August when the county’s infection rate hit 97 per 100,000.

Jefferson County had its first positive test Friday since Aug. 31, said Jefferson County Health Officer Dr. Tom Locke. The county had gone 11 days without a positive test result.

Jefferson County has had 71 positives since March, with 11 active cases and an infection rate of just 9.4 percent over the past two weeks.

Locke said that the new positive should not raise Jefferson’s infection rate above 10 per 100,000.

“Under 10 we’re very glad. That’s an especially low prevalence for when we’re opening up schools,” Locke said.

Locke and Unthank feared that there could be an uptick in cases after the Labor Day weekend because they anticipated large gatherings that weekend. Unthank said the five new cases were not related to the Labor Day weekend. Locke said any rise in cases stemming from Labor Day would likely show up later this week.

Locke said Jefferson County’s newest COVID-19 patient was completely asymptomatic. That person’s positive test showed up as part of a routine screening for a medical procedure.

“They’re a very fortunate individual,” Locke said.

He said the county is still investigating if the case was caught locally or out of county.

Clallam schools

Unthank in her Friday update said the county has experienced 11 consecutive days with an infection rate below 75 per 100,000.

“After four weeks under that threshold, we can consider some in-person instruction in the schools,” she said.

If the infection rate holds, Clallam County elementary schools may be able to offer some in-person instruction by early October, Unthank said.

“We definitely will not go back to full in-person instruction right away,” she said.

Unthank also said the heavy smoke from the Oregon and Washington fires are complicating the response to COVID-19.

She said people over 65 should definitely stay indoors and parents should keep very young children indoors. People with underlying health problems also should remain inside.

“Now is a good time to come indoors,” she said.


Sports Editor Pierre LaBossiere can be reached at [email protected]

More in News

Nurse Jessica Franz, shows a photo of her mother-in-law, Elaine Franz, outside Olathe Medical Center after working the graveyard shift Thursday, Nov. 26, 2020, in Olathe, Kan. Elaine Franz died Nov. 10, one day before her 78th birthday, after contracting COVID-19. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
Empty seats, delivered feasts as virus changes Thanksgiving

By Regina Garcia Cano, Matt Sedensky and Heather Hollingsworth | The Associated… Continue reading

‘Christmas Cabin’ starts Wednesday in Port Angeles

The Answer For Youth and the Sprouting Hope Greenhouse… Continue reading

Holiday craft sale scheduled in Sequim

The Shipley Center will host a Holiday Crafts Sale from… Continue reading

First Teacher online meeting features Santa Claus

Santa Claus will be the guest at a First Teacher… Continue reading

First vaccines expected in mid-December

Initial shots for front-line workers

Port Angeles Food Bank Executive Director Emily Dexter stands outside the food bank's new warehouse and distribution center at 632 N. Oakridge Drive near the Port Angeles Walmart. The covered canopy area will become the food bank's drive-thru distribution lane. (Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News)
Port Angeles Food Bank moving to larger building

Site offers more refrigeration, covered distribution point

Downtown retail stores in Port Townsend were closed Thursday for Thanksgiving, but many are planning promotions for Small Business Saturday. Local retailers across the North Olympic Peninsula are offering a variety of sales and promotions this weekend for Black Friday and Small Business Saturday. (Zach Jablonski/Peninsula Daily News)
Motto on North Olympic Peninsula is to shop locally

Retailers offer post-Thanksgiving sales

Working on Thanksgiving in the Tri-Area Community Center kitchen are Anita Schmucker, center, and her foster kids, from left, Mya, Rosemary, Friday and Sadie. The family helped prepare some 300 dinners at the Chimacum center Thursday. (Diane Urbani de la Paz/Peninsula Daily News)
Tri-Area community feast serves nearly 350 people

Volunteers cook, provide carry-out for drive-up guests

PASD joins move to remote learning on Peninsula

The Port Angeles School District will join other districts… Continue reading

Most Read