Clallam County Phase 3 plans to be tabled

Cases reported at Olympic Medical Center

PORT ANGELES — The Clallam County health officer does not plan to recommend an application to move into Phase 3 of the state’s Safe Start plan this week.

Instead, Health Officer Dr. Allison Unthank said she plans to tell the Clallam County Board of Health it should remain in Phase 2 of the COVID-19 restrictions due to two recent outbreaks of the virus locally, including one at Olympic Medical Center.

“Based on the latest cases, I highly recommend we do not move forward,” she said.

Two OMC employees have tested positive since Friday, and a third case not tied to OMC brings the county’s total to 38.

Meanwhile, Jefferson County, which reported one new case Sunday, will consider applying for Phase 3 today. Jefferson also has recorded 38 cases, making a total of 76 on the North Olympic Peninsula.

One person at OMC tested positive late last week and notified the hospital while going into quarantine, according to an OMC press release. In a follow-up with contact tracing protocols, it was discovered that a second employee in the same department tested positive, the medical center said.

Unthank said Sunday officials have been busy contacting both patients and employees who may have come into contact with either person.

Unthank said that, while some OMC patients should expect to be contacted about possible exposure, the medical center has been diligent in taking precautionary safety measures, such as using personal protective equipment, to minimize the risk of exposure to the virus.

“We do feel confident that OMC is doing a good job,” Unthank said.

“We understand that patients and employees identified through contact tracing to have been in contact with these health care workers will be concerned. However, we do this out of an abundance of caution,” said Darryl Wolfe, interim chief executive officer for OMC.

OMC said the risk of transmission to patients and caregivers is low because of extensive precautions.

“What we are looking at very closely and emphasizing strongly is renewed vigilance and adherence to universal masking and social distancing requirements among our employees when they are with other employees, in particular,” Wolfe said.

Unthank said the latest cases are all locally transmitted, showing the virus is in the county. That underscores the importance of people continuing to maintain social distancing and wearing masks to prevent the spread of COVID-19 locally, she said.

“This virus is here,” Unthank said.

The Clallam County Board of Health will meet at 1:30 p.m. Tuesday to discuss COVID-19 and the Phase 3 application. That meeting can be viewed at

Jefferson County

The Jefferson County Board of Commissioners will consider the Phase 3 application at 9:45 a.m. today. That meeting can be viewed at

Phase 3 would allow some additional businesses to reopen, such as gyms. It would also allow libraries, museums and bars to reopen, and it would allow more capacity in restaurants.

Jefferson County Health Officer Dr. Tom Locke said he is in favor of allowing libraries and museums to reopen, but he is concerned about allowing bars to reopen. The county could apply for modified Phase 3 restrictions that would exclude bars.

“The thing we’ll look at most seriously is bars,” he said.

Locke said the most recent case in Jefferson County appears to have been transmitted out of the county.

“This one very clearly has some Seattle links,” he said.

Locke reiterated Unthank’s point that wearing masks is critical to stopping the spread of COVID-19.

“People have to get serious about masking right now,” he said. “The excuses and partisanship have to end.”


Sports Editor Pierre LaBossiere can be reached by email at

More in News

Port Angeles School Superintendent Marty Brewer, second from right, speaks with members of the Port Angeles Parents for Education, on Friday about the Port Angeles Paraeducation Association strike. Assistant Superintendent Michele Olsen stands at right. (Paula Hunt/Peninsula Daily News)
District, PAPEA to pick up bargaining Sunday

Parent group presses officials for answers on strike

Instructor Josh Taylor, left, points out the workings of an electric vehicle on Wednesday at the Auto Technology Certification Program at Peninsula College. Nick Schommer, center, and Brian Selk get ready to do some testing on the electric auto’s parts from underneath the vehicle. (Dave Logan/for Peninsula Daily News)
College’s automotive technology program gets a reboot

Students can earn a certificate separate from two-year degree

Port Townsend transportation tax dollars to be put to work

Benefits district to raise $400,000 to $600,000 in first year

Retired teacher Nancy McCaleb speaks in support of striking paraeducators in the Port Angeles School District as Port Angeles Paraeducators Association President Rebecca Winters listens during a rally on Thursday at Shane Park.
About 130 rally in support of paras

District officials say funding is statewide problem

Mark Nichols.
Proposed changes to public defender caseloads could hurt rural counties

Annual limits starting in 2025 may create staffing issues

Fernando Cruz of Auburn, an employee of Specialized Pavement Marking in Pacific, cleans off a sign he used to paint a bicycle lane on Sims Way and Kearney Street, the site of the new roundabout. The workers needed at least two days of 47 degrees or above in order to paint the pedestrian crosswalks and other necessary markings. (Steve Mullensky/for Peninsula Daily News)
New bike lane in Port Townsend

Fernando Cruz of Auburn, an employee of Specialized Pavement Marking in Pacific,… Continue reading

Two-lane bypass to be installed Monday

Contractor crews working for the state Department of Transportation will… Continue reading

Twice daily bridge inspections start next week

Bridge preservation engineers from the state Department of Transportation will… Continue reading

Funding farm-to-school programs

In the 2021-2023 state budget, Washington set aside money specifically for the… Continue reading

Gus Griffin, 11, second from left, and classmates dig up weeds in one of Port Townsend’s three gardens on March 28. (Grace Deng/Washington State Standard)
Farm-to-school programs flourish in Washington

Demand from school districts outpacing state funding

Jefferson enacts 1-year moratorium on STRs

County wants to consider possible regulations for rentals