Two more Clallam County residents have died from COVID-19, raising the total number of deaths in the county to 67 and to 84 on the North Olympic Peninsula since the pandemic began.
The newest deaths were a man in his 50s who was unvaccinated and a woman in her 80s who was fully vaccinated, but had underlying conditions and was a resident of a long-term-care facility that had experienced a COVID-19 outbreak, said Dr. Allison Berry, health officer for Jefferson and Clallam counties, during her Friday morning briefing.
“Unfortunately, we do continue to see that these young healthy people who die of COVID-19 are uniformly unvaccinated in our community,” Berry said.
Jefferson County did not report any new deaths on Friday. The county has confirmed 17 deaths due to COVID-19 since the pandemic began.
The Peninsula is starting to see a slow decrease in new cases, Berry said, but added that the county still has “quite a lot of transmission.”
On Friday, Clallam County recorded a case rate of 291 cases per 100,000 population for the two weeks prior as of Friday. That was the first time since before September the county had a case rate below the 300s, according to county public health data.
In Jefferson County, officials recorded a case rate of about 181.82 cases per 100,000 for the two weeks prior as of Nov. 3. Before that the county had a case rate of 250.78 cases per 100,000 for the two weeks prior as of Oct. 27.
While any decrease in case rates is welcome, the current rates are still well into the high-risk category and Berry worries that residents people traveling and gathering during the holidays could spur another waved of infection.
“I am concerned about this setting us up for a significant sixth wave coming through the holidays,” Berry said. “I am hopeful, that by having vaccines available for kids 5 to 11, we can blunt that wave.
“Certainly, I would encourage any adults who aren’t vaccinated, any teens that aren’t vaccinated, to get vaccinated in advance of any holiday gatherings. That would really go a long way to blunting that wave and keeping our health care system functioning through the holidays,” she added.
“If we see the same level of infections that we saw in our last wave, we would shut down our health care system again,” Berry warned, adding that “we can prevent that if people get vaccinated.”
Vaccination clinic appointments for 5- 11-year-olds in Clallam County are available through Olympic Medical Center from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. every Wednesday, Friday and Saturday at the Front Street Clinic at 901 E Front St. in Port Angeles. Appointments can be made by calling 360-565-0999.
In Jefferson County, as of Friday, appointments were still available for the Nov. 20 clinic at Chimacum High School, 91 West Valley Road. Parents/guardians can get appointments at prepmod.doh.wa.gov//appointment/en/reg/22 69590821.
Those unable to access appointment registration online can call the emergency management department at 360-344-9791 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays.
The state’s vaccination locator, at vaccinelocator.doh.wa.gov, lists pharmacies that offer the pediatric doses.
According to the latest data from the state Department of Health, 80.9 percent of the population 12 and older in Jefferson County have started vaccinations, with 77.1 percent fully vaccinated.
Of the entire population, 74.4 percent have begun vaccination and 71 percent are fully vaccinated, according to the state’s dashboard.
In Clallam County, 75.1 percent of the population 12 and older have started vaccinations, with 70.3 percent fully vaccinated.
Of the total population, 66.7 percent have begun vaccinations, with 62.5 percent fully vaccinated, according to the state’s dashboard.
Since the beginning of February, 73.14 percent of new COVID-19 cases have been among unvaccinated residents in Jefferson County, while 26.86 percent of cases were among fully vaccinated, according to public health data.
In Clallam County, 83 percent of new cases have been among unvaccinated residents since February, while 17 percent of cases were among fully vaccinated residents, according to public health data.
Clallam County added 14 new cases of COVID-19 on Friday, raising its total to 4,992 since the pandemic began, according to county public health data.
Jefferson County added five new cases Friday, raising its total to 1,185 since the pandemic began, according to county public health data.
Jefferson County reporter Zach Jablonski can be reached at 360-385-2335, ext. 5, or at [email protected]