Autopsy confirms cause of death; Clallam man in 30s succumbed to COVID-19

Another Clallam County death has been attributed to COVID-19 after an autopsy confirmed the cause of death, according to the region’s health officer.

The deceased was an unvaccinated man in his 30s with no significant underlying health issues who developed COVID pneumonia, said Dr. Allison Berry, health officer for Clallam and Jefferson counties, on Wednesday after the results of the autopsy were received.

Berry said the man died a month ago. An autopsy was ordered to confirm the cause of his death.

“We requested the autopsy because he died at home and was quite young,” Berry said.

“Contrary to popular belief, we are quite cautious about calling something a COVID death,” she added. “If there is any doubt, we would like to be sure.”

Berry has previously explained that COVID-19 has been listed as the cause of death even in people with other health challenges because it was the virus attacking an already compromised immune system that killed them.

The death brought Clallam County’s total since the pandemic began to 99. Jefferson County has had 26 deaths due to COVID-19 since the pandemic began.

The number of cases on the North Olympic Peninsula continued to trend downward on Wednesday.

Clallam County’s case rate dropped to 1,063 per 100,000 population. Jefferson’s case rate, which is currently 742 cases per 100,000, will be updated on Friday.

Case rates are the reflection of cases reported over a two-week period. They are computed using a formula based on 100,000 population, even for counties — such as Clallam and Jefferson — that do not have 100,000 population.

Perhaps other measurements are more understandable.

Jefferson County on Wednesday reported 118 people in isolation with active cases of COVID-19. That is down from Tuesday’s report of 131 active cases in isolation.

Clallam County does not report that metric but does report a daily average over the past two weeks.

On its COVID-19 dashboard, Clallam County said on Wednesday that the average daily number of cases over the past two weeks has been 58.

That is down from Tuesday’s report of 60 cases, which, in turn, was down from Friday’s report of 66 cases.

On Wednesday, Clallam County added 66 new cases, bringing its total since the pandemic began to 10,543 from 10,477. Jefferson County added 14 new cases, bringing its total since the pandemic began to 2,904 from 2,890.

Ten Clallam County residents were in hospitals with COVID-19 on Wednesday. Seven were in Olympic Medical Center in Port Angeles with three in the intensive care unit (ICU) and another three in ICUs out of the county.

Four Jefferson County residents were in hospitals with COVID-19 on Wednesday. One was in the ICU at Jefferson Healthcare in Port Townsend with the other three in ICUs at neighboring hospitals.

Jefferson County personnel will distribute COVID-19 tests in several locations during business hours this week for those who have symptoms or who have been exposed to COVID-19.

The locations include Brinnon Fire Department, Discovery Bay Fire Department, Jefferson County Library and bookmobile, Jefferson County Public Health Office and Quilcene Fire Department.

N95 masks will be available at the Jefferson County Public Health Office.