Virus case numbers holding steady on Peninsula

Holidays may present challenge, official says

COVID-19 case rates on the North Olympic Peninsula continue to plateau in Clallam County, and they are starting to decrease again in Jefferson County.

While the rates are not currently increasing, they’re still very high and a surge caused by holiday gatherings and travel over the next two months could cause another severe increase in cases, said Dr. Allison Berry, health officer for Jefferson and Clallam counties.

“We’re happy to see a small decrease in Jefferson, and we hope that continues,” Berry said. “Certainly, the lower our cases are as we go into the holidays, the safer the holidays will be.

“Both rates are still quite high though, and looking at our rates — as well as the rates across our state and much of the rest of the country — we’re really, unfortunately, in a prime position for a really significant holiday surge.”

In Clallam County, the case rate continues to remain about the same, with the county recording 293 cases per 100,000 population for the past two weeks as of Monday. On Friday, Clallam County had 291 cases per 100,000 population for the past two weeks, according to county public health data.

Clallam County added 37 new cases of COVID-19 on Monday that were confirmed between Saturday and Sunday, raising its total to 5,029 since the pandemic began, according to county public health data.

In Jefferson County, health officials recorded about 181.82 cases per 100,000 for the two weeks prior as of Nov. 3. Before that, the county had 250.78 cases per 100,000 for the two weeks prior as of Oct. 27.

Jefferson County added 11 new cases Monday from Saturday and Sunday, raising its total to 1,196 since the pandemic began, according to county public health data.

“When we have this much COVID-19 circulating in the community, it’s more important than ever to be cautious about our holiday plans and our holiday gatherings,” Berry said.

Berry recommends any holiday gatherings should have the majority of people vaccinated against COVID-19, and if people are traveling by plane, they should wear a high-quality face mask such as a KN95 or an N95 while on board, especially if they’re unvaccinated and on a longer flight, Berry said.

Anyone 5 and older can now be vaccinated for COVID-19 on the Peninsula, and Berry urges unvaccinated residents to get the inoculation.

If anyone has questions or concerns about the vaccines, they can talk with their primary care provider, Berry said.

Vaccination clinic appointments for 5- to 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, 901 E Front St. in Port Angeles. Appointments can be made by calling 360-565-0999.

In Jefferson County, appointments were still available as of Monday 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.

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Jefferson County reporter Zach Jablonski can be reached at 360-385-2335, ext. 5, or at [email protected]

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