Three more deaths due to COVID-19

One connected to outbreak

Three more Clallam County residents have died from COVID-19, raising the total number of deaths caused by the novel coronavirus in the county to 42 since the pandemic began.

The deaths include an unvaccinated woman in her 70s who was a resident at a long-term care facility in Clallam County experiencing a COVID-19 outbreak, and the two others were men in their 60s who were both unvaccinated but were not connected with a long-term care facility outbreak, said Dr. Allison Berry, health officer for Jefferson and Clallam counties.

There were no new deaths over the weekend in Jefferson County, which has recorded 13 since the pandemic began, according to public health data.

On Monday, Clallam County reported 106 new COVID-19 cases between Saturday and Sunday, an improvement from when the county was seeing more than 100 new cases per day a few weeks ago, Berry said.

Eighteen new COVID-19 cases were reported in Jefferson County on Monday from over the weekend, Berry said.

Jefferson County had a significant decrease in its case rate this week, dropping to 379.31 per 100,000 population for the past two weeks as of Saturday, after it had a case rate of more than 500 per 100,000 last week, according to county public health data.

Clallam County also saw a slight decrease in its case rate on Monday, dropping to 1,108 per 100,000 for the past two weeks as of Monday. The case rate on Friday was 1,232 per 100,000, according to county health data.

“It’s still much higher than we would want it to be, but it does show what we’re doing is working,” Berry said. “We’re certainly not out of this yet — I don’t want people to feel like we’re done — but we’re moving in the right direction.

“What we are doing is working,” she continued. “We’re starting to see cases move in the right direction, but we still have quite a bit of transmission in our community. It’s too early to let our guard down, but it does mean what we are doing is moving us in the right direction, and we just need to keep at it.”

On Monday, 17 residents in Clallam County and five in Jefferson County were hospitalized with COVID-19, Berry said.

Clallam County has confirmed at total of 3,921 cases of COVID-19 since the pandemic began. Jefferson County has confirmed 932.

Since the beginning of February in Clallam County, 14.5 percent of new cases have been among fully vaccinated residents, meaning 85.5 percent of cases have been among unvaccinated residents, according to county data.

During the same time period in Jefferson County, 23.33 percent of new COVID-19 cases have been among fully vaccinated residents, meaning 76.67 percent of cases have been among unvaccinated residents, according to county data.

The majority of new COVID-19 cases on the Peninsula continues to be among unvaccinated residents, and Berry continues to urge all residents 12 and older to get vaccinated as soon as possible.

During her briefing with the Board of Jefferson County Commissioners on Monday, Berry explained that, while it’s possible for fully vaccinated people to contract and transmit COVID-19 to others, fully vaccinated people have a lot higher chance of not contracting the virus at all, and therefore have nothing to spread to others.

She also explained that those breakthrough cases normally are infectious for a shorter period of time, with vaccinated people on average being infectious for about three days and unvaccinated for upwards of 10 or more, as well as vaccinated people normally having much smaller viral loads, making it harder for the disease to spread from them.

Berry continues to urge residents to wear masks while indoors with others, keep 6 feet of social distance and get vaccinated as soon as possible.

She estimated that if Clallam County hadn’t followed any mitigation efforts to try to slow the spread of COVID-19, 2,000 people could have died in the county alone.

“If we just let COVID run through the community, the death toll would be unimaginable,” Berry said.

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Jefferson County reporter Zach Jablonski can be reached at 360-385-2335, ext. 5, or at zjablonski@peninsuladailynews.com.

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