Four new cases of COVID-19 were reported in Clallam County on Friday and no new cases were reported in either Clallam or Jefferson counties on Saturday.
The four new cases In Clallam County were all locally transmitted, according to Dr. Allison Unthank, county public health officer.
The county has 221 total cases with 21 active cases. Its infection rate was 54 per 100,000 over the past two weeks Saturday according to Clallam County Health Officer Dr. Allison Unthank, a big drop from mid-August, when it reached a peak of 97.4 cases per 100,000. The uptick was blamed on a series of parties and gatherings.
Jefferson County has not had a positive case since Aug. 31. Jefferson County has had 70 total cases since March, with 15 active cases. Its infection rate is 28.21 per 100,000 over the past two weeks, down from a high of 43.9 cases per 100,000 in August.
Updated numbers released Thursday show that young people continue to drive new cases in Clallam County. About 55 cases are in the 20-29 age range, and 41 cases in the 10-19 age range. Another 41 cases are in the 30-39 age range. The 30-39 age range has been the biggest source of new cases in the past two weeks.
The West End is driving many of the recent cases. In the past two weeks, there have been 30 positives on the West End, 10 in Port Angeles and two in Sequim. Port Angeles and the West End each have had the same number of cases since March — 87 — while Sequim has had 43 total cases.
Both Jefferson and Clallam counties are in the “moderate” range for infection rate, though Jefferson’s is dropping low enough to come close to returning to its “low risk” range of less than 25 cases per 100,000.
Jefferson differs from Clallam in that older people have caught the virus at a much higher rate than in Clallam. The 60-69 age group has had the most cases since march with a total of 17.
Both North Olympic Peninsula health officers have expressed fears that the number of new cases will rise after Labor Day and have urged people to avoid large gatherings, practice social distancing and wear face masks.
Jefferson County Health Officer Tom Locke said Jefferson’s infection rate will be updated Tuesday after the Labor Day holiday weekend, but if the county holds with no new cases, its rate could drop to as low as 12 per 100,000, well into the “low risk” range.
Locke said next week will be a big week for Jefferson County as schools will be reopening Tuesday. He said that so far, only a small school district in Brinnon was open last week for three days and the first week of classes with a hybrid system of both online and in-person instruction went well.
“So far, so good in Brinnon,” he said.
All Jefferson County districts but Quilcene are opening with a hybrid plan. Quilcene is teaching remotely.
All districts in Clallam County, where most opened last week, are online only.
Though the case rate in both counties continues to drop and cases are dropping statewide, Locke said he has not heard any word from the state about allowing more businesses to open. The state put a halt to lowering COVID-19 restrictions on businesses in late June because the number of new cases in Washington started skyrocketing.
“With the benefit of hindsight, they think the state was reopening too soon and caused a surge in cases,” Locke said.
Locke said the number of cases will likely have to be suppressed even more to see counties entering higher phases of reopening. Jefferson and Clallam counties have been at Phase II for months now.
“Some things [such as nightclubs and concerts] may not reopen until we get a vaccine,” Locke said.
Sports Editor Pierre LaBossiere can be reached at [email protected].