Confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Clallam County had crept to 101 since March by Saturday while Jefferson County reported a new total of 53.
Clallam County reported two new cases Saturday and two new ones Friday, while Jefferson reported two more cases on Saturday. That brings the total in the two counties since March up to 154.
Dr. Allison Unthank, Clallam County health officer, said Saturday that of the four new cases, three were transmitted locally and one was from an out-of-county visitor. One of the new cases had been hospitalized, she said.
In Jefferson County, Health Officer Dr. Tom Locke said one of the new cases Saturday was expected because it was a person with a known exposure to COVID-19 out of the county. He said he did now as of Saturday if the second case was from a local or out-of-county exposure.
One of the new Jefferson County cases was a male and one was a female. Locke did not have their ages.
Clallam County public health stopped providing decade of age or gender for individual cases last week. Age distribution is now reported each Friday on the county’s coronavirus webpage, www.clallam.net/coronavirus.
Jefferson County COVID-19 updates are available at www.jeffersoncountypublichealth.org.
In her weekly COVID-19 update Friday, Unthank reiterated that she believed schools can safely reopen if they follow safety protocols.
Unthank said an infection rate of lower than 25 per 100,000 population over a period of two weeks is considered safe enough to move to Phase 3 COVID-19 restrictions. She said Saturday that Clallam County’s infection rate is about 30 per 100,000, just outside of that range.
By comparison, Jefferson County with its three new cases, had an infection rate of just 9 per 100,000.
Unthank pointed out that after the Fourth of July holiday, Clallam County saw a big uptick in cases, but its new cases per 100,000 is now leveling off. She believes it can get down below 25 per 100,000 again.
“I think it is safely possible to safely do schools in the fall even with the current numbers,” she said. “It will be even safer if we can drive those numbers below 25 per 100,000,” she said. “We just have to work together to do it.”
Measures that the county is working on with schools include maintaining a rigid six-foot spacing between children, children not mixing with other students outside of their class and universal masking for kids.
Unthank also stressed that people need to continue to limit gatherings such as parties to keep those numbers down.
Smoke and COVID
Smoke lingered over much of Clallam County on Friday from a 65-acre fire north of Lake Crescent.
At the Friday update, Unthank talked about smoke can make people more vulnerable to viral infections, so they should limit outdoor activity until the smoke cleared. The air quality in the area had improved by Saturday.
“We do have evidence that smoke increases susceptibility to viral infections. It is important to limit smoke exposure as much as you can,” she said.
Unthank also reiterated that people should be more careful about reporting those they suspect have violated quarantine. She said if people are in quarantine, it’s all right for them to be outside in their own yards. Also, some people have reported people who have completed their 10-day quarantine.
“People do get better. There are people who were in isolation but are no longer infectious,” she said. “People are only contagious for 10 days. It’s important to welcome people back.”
Sport Editor Pierre LaBossiere can be reached at [email protected]