Jefferson County confirmed two new cases of COVID-19 on Monday, while Clallam County had no cases to report.
Jefferson County’s new case rate rose to 25.08 per 100,000 population for the past two weeks, while Clallam County’s rate dropped to 20 per 100,000 for the same time period.
Both counties are in the state’s low-risk category, with Jefferson County at the limit between low and moderate.
The state’s overall rate is 85 per 100,000 residents, said Dr. Tom Locke, Jefferson County health officer.
The newest cases in Jefferson County are a man in his 50s located in Port Townsend and a man in his 70s located in mid-county, according to Jefferson County Public Health.
During his Monday briefing with the county commissioners, Locke described how the state and nation is seeing a rise in COVID-19 cases — with states like North Dakota and South Dakota showing some of the highest numbers of new case rates and hospitalizations — and Washington state seeing about a 9 percent increase in new COVID-19 cases over the past week.
However, the Peninsula hasn’t seen a significant rise in cases due to residents following COVID-19 prevention protocols such as mask wearing and social distancing, Locke said.
“A lot of people can take credit for that,” he said.
Locke explained it is still vital for people to continue to wear masks, social distance and stay home when sick, or case numbers could begin to rise and schools might have to close.
Clallam County Health Officer Dr. Allison Unthank agreed.
“Clallam County has really been doing really quite well keeping our COVID-19 numbers under control, and we’re encouraging everybody to keep up that work,” she said.
“Our success is always tenuous, but if we keep up the work that we’re doing right now — we don’t let down our guard — I think that we really can get through the fall and winter without seeing the kind of surges that we’re seeing in other parts of the country.”
Jefferson County school districts have all opened using various styles of hybrid in-person and online learning, while some Clallam County schools started to bring back younger students last week.
Unthank said classes are going well.
“I think one of the early concerns around mask wearing was if small children could do it, and I think that our kindergartners are doing a great job of teaching the rest of us how to wear masks well,” she said. “They’re really doing quite well and adapting to the new normal better than many adults, I think.”
Jefferson County now has COVID-19 testing available at the Jefferson Healthcare South County Clinic in Quilcene by appointment. Those who need to be tested are encouraged to call the nurse hotline at 360-344-3094.
Most primary care clinics in Clallam County are able to test for COVID-19, and Olympic Medical Center has a drive-thru testing site in the parking lot west of 1035 E. Caroline St.
Clallam County has confirmed 259 cases of COVID-19 since March, with eight active cases and one death, according to Clallam County Public Health data.
Jefferson County has confirmed 79 cases of COVID-19 since March, with eight active cases and no deaths, according to Jefferson County Public Health data.
Jefferson County reporter Zach Jablonski can be reached at 360-385-2335, ext. 5 or at [email protected].