Mask, gown donations still needed in fight against coronavirus

Clallam County officials are advising that despite the health threat posed by the novel coronavirus, people don’t need to be wearing masks while out in public.

Local essential business and service providers still have plenty of need for masks, however.

Sequim-area residents are encouraged to keep making and donate cloth masks and gowns, also known as personal protective equipment (PPE).

“There is still a need, and we anticipate that the demand will increase,” Julie Knobel, public information officer for the Sequim Emergency Coordination Center.

“These efforts reflect the generosity and community spirit, which we have here in Sequim. We extend our gratitude to the individuals and businesses which have supported this effort,” she said.

Donations can be dropped off from 9 a.m.-2 p.m., Monday-Friday, at Greywolf Elementary School, 171 Carlsborg Road.

Essential businesses and service providers who have a need for personal protective equipment (PPE) such as the homemade masks or gloves in Clallam County should use the number (360) 417-2430 to make their requests.

According to Clallam County Health Officer Dr. Allison Berry Unthank and Clallam County Emergency Management representatives, only either those essential personnel and sick people need to wear masks (and sick residents should be at home).

“If people are not sick and don’t have symptoms you are really not helping yourself or anybody else by wearing a mask out in public,” Unthank said.

A mask keeps germs on a person and does not protect individuals from others’ germs, Peter Raiswell, Clallam County Public Information Officer, said in a March 31 press release.

“It is not dangerous to be out in in the world; just stay 6 feet away from any person who is not part of your household,” he said.

“It is OK to be closer briefly (10 minutes or less) to others such as cashiers, store clerks, etc.,” he said. “Just remember to wash your hands when you get home. If you purchased something, put it away and wash your hands again, especially prior to eating.”

As of March 30, 379 Clallam County residents had been tested for COVID-19, with 337 negative, 34 pending and eight positive results, including the first community transmission of the virus that has infected a man in his 50s.

The most at-risk population for severe illness is older than 60, male and obese, health officials say.

No new cases were reported by Undersheriff Ron Cameron at the March 31 regular COVID-19 briefing.

“These are pretty good numbers,” Cameron said.

In Jefferson County, a 17th case was reported on March 31 among 514 patients tested.

Of those, 434 have come back negative, 63 are pending, with nine of those exposed in the county and eight presumed to be exposed out of county.

Nine in Jefferson County are ages 20-49, and eight 60-79.