Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News

Statewide slowdown fuels local optimism

Officials await COVID-19 testing results after holidays

The Jefferson County health officer is hopeful that an apparent drop in state numbers also portends easing of confirmed new cases of COVID-19 on the North Olympic Peninsula.

“Washington state seems to have gone over a hump,” said Dr. Tom Locke, Jefferson County health officer.

“Hopefully, that’s a trend that will continue.”

Clallam County reported seven new positives Friday and three more Saturday. Jefferson County did not report any new cases Friday or Saturday. Dr. Allison Unthank, Clallam County health officer, was not available for comment this weekend.

Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News

Washington state reported between 1,507 and 2,514 new cases a day during the three days from Tuesday through Thursday, Christmas Eve. On Christmas Day, not all counties reported numbers. A week earlier, from Dec. 15-18, the state had a range of 1,595 to 3,959 new cases a day over four days. The state hit more than 3,700 cases a day twice from Dec. 15-18 yet didn’t come close to 3,000 cases per day last week.

Locke added a caveat that one reason new cases may be down last week is that fewer people had tests done over the Christmas holiday. For instance, Jefferson County only had 30 test results pending Saturday.

“There is a drop in state numbers, which may or may not be real,” Locke said.

Still, he was encouraged that the Peninsula seems to have dropped from its peak of cases entering the Christmas holiday.

Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News

An uptick of cases is expected from people holding gatherings and traveling for the holiday, much like what was expected over Thanksgiving. The Thanksgiving surge didn’t materialize and officials hope this holiday will have the same result.

“This holiday surge is a really critical time,” Locke said. “If we can get through [the Christmas holiday]. then we can get on a downward slope.”

Including the recent new cases, Clallam County has had 719 COVID-19 positives since the pandemic began in March.

Clallam County has 72 active cases and an infection rate of 132 per 100,000 over the past two weeks. That keeps it in the high-risk category, which is anything over 75 per 100,000 but is down considerably from a high point of more than 200 per 100,000 in November.

Meanwhile, Jefferson County remains at 212 total cases since March.

There are 12 active cases in isolation in Jefferson County and the infection rate in Jefferson is all the way down to 59 per 100,000 over the past two weeks. It now is in the moderate-risk category. Jefferson County peaked at more than 150 per 100,000 in November.

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

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