Clallam confirms new cases, total rises to 33

Clallam County confirmed two new cases of COVID-19 Monday during a week in which health officials are expected to consider re-opening overnight camping.

The new cases include a boy younger than 10 who is suspected to have contracted the virus from another known case in Clallam County and a man in his 60s who contracted the virus from an out-of-county source, said Dr. Allison Unthank, Clallam County health officer.

Both are at home and recovering, Unthank said.

The number of confirmed cases on the North Olympic Peninsula rose to 65 Tuesday, with 33 cases in Clallam County and 32 in Jefferson County.

There are seven active cases in the counties combined. Clallam County has had 26 cases recover, and 30 people have recovered in Jefferson County. There have been no reported deaths due

to COVID-19 on the peninsula, officials said.

The most recent case in Jefferson County — a man in his 70s who was not hospitalized — was discovered Saturday. Dr. Tom Locke, the Jefferson County health officer, said he believes the man contracted the virus locally, but he does have out-of-state contacts.

The Clallam County Board of Health was scheuled to meet June 16 to discuss a recommendation from Unthank that could open overnight camping.

If the board approves it, the recommendation would go before the Clallam County commissioners for final approval. If that occurs, overnight camping would be allowed in both Clallam and Jefferson counties, because the Jefferson County Board of Health chose to tie opening overnight camping in the county to Clallam’s opening, officials said.

Unthank said during a Monday interview that she will recommend the county not approach an application for Phase 3 until June 29 because case numbers have been rising in other counties.

Unthank said she wants to wait the full three weeks of the county operating in Phase 2 so she can analyze data to know if it’s safe to move forward. The data would include information through June 22.

“I think it would be safer and more prudent to get two weeks of data on Phase 2 before moving towards Phase 3,” Unthank said. “I’m worried to move to Phase 3 before we see the actual rise in cases from Phase 2.

“I want our recovery to be sustainable.”

The Jefferson County Board of Health may vote June 18 to move forward with an application to enter Phase 3 of Gov. Jay Inslee’s “Safe Start” plan, after Locke recommended to the Board of Jefferson County Commissioners on Monday to pursue it.

The Jefferson County Board of Health will meet at 2:30 p.m. Thursday to discuss Locke said he will recommend the county move into a full Phase 3, which would allow for some recreational facilities, such as gyms, to open with less than 50 percent capacity. It would allow restaurants to open to 75 percent capacity, and it would allow bars inside restaurants to open to 25 percent capacity.

It would also allow libraries and museums to reopen.

If the Jefferson County Board of Health approves the recommendation, it would go before the county commissioners for final approval. Jefferson County Public Health staff are preparing the application paperwork for the state this week, and once the application is submitted, Locke expects the state to take two to three days to review it before a decision is made.

Both health officers have been encouraging people who have any COVID-19 symptoms to call and get tested.

Testing in Clallam County is being done at primary care clinics, walk-in clinics and tribal clinics.

In Jefferson County, a drive-through system is in place. A testing appointment must be made by calling 360-344-3094.