COVID claims two more lives

Two Jefferson County residents — a man in his 70s and a woman in her 60s — have died from COVID-19, the Peninsula health officer said.

The recent deaths bring Jefferson County’s total to 15 and the two-county North Olympic Peninsula to 65. Clallam County has recorded 50 deaths due to COVID-19 since the pandemic began, according to public health data.

The man in his 70s was fully vaccinated but was a cancer patient, so his immune system wasn’t able to fully respond, said Dr. Allison Berry, health officer for Jefferson and Clallam counties.

The woman was unvaccinated, Berry said.

Meanwhile, Clallam County added 40 new cases of COVID-19 on Thursday, raising its total to 4,245 cases since the pandemic began, according to public health data.

Jefferson County added seven new cases Thursday to hit the 1,000-case benchmark since the pandemic began, according to public health data.

Despite the new cases, Clallam County’s case rate continues to decrease, with the county reporting a rate of 691 cases per 100,000 population for the past two weeks as of Thursday. It recorded a case rate of 764 cases per 100,000 on Wednesday, public health data said.

Jefferson County’s case rate, calculated weekly, dropped to 275.86 cases per 100,000 for the past two weeks as of Saturday.

The previous week’s rate was 379.31 cases per 100,000, according to county public health data.

Due to the smaller number of daily cases being reported, Berry said she anticipates Jefferson County’s case rate will continue to decrease when it’s recalculated Monday.

“We’re seeing decreased cases each day, so that’s good,” Berry said. “We’re definitely dropping quite rapidly.”

Booster shot

Sign-ups for Clallam County’s mass booster vaccination clinic on Oct. 16 go live today at 9 a.m. for eligible Clallam County residents who received the Pfizer vaccine, a press release from the Clallam County Department of Emergency Management said.

The clinic will be at Port Angeles High School and sign ups will be on the Clallam County website at clallam.net/Coronavirus. Those without internet access can call the county Department of Emergency Management at 360-417-2430 for assistance.

Booster shots are available to those who originally received the Pfizer vaccine series. Eligible residents must be older than 65 or older than 18 with an underlying health condition, or have a job that puts them at risk.

“Of course, if you have not had a vaccine yet, you can sign up for your first shot as well to start the two-shot series,” the press release said.

People are not required to have the third-dose booster shot as part of their proof of vaccination to comply with the mandate that requires indoor restaurant and bar customers to be fully vaccinated to sit down inside, Berry said.

Due to the continued decrease in COVID-19 cases in both counties, monoclonal antibody treatments are more available for high-risk residents infected with COVID-19, Berry said.

The treatment reduces the risk of hospitalization and death due to COVID-19 for those patients who are at high risk of complications due to the novel coronavirus, as long as it’s provided early in their infection period, Berry said.

Berry urges high-risk patients infected with COVID-19 to contact their health care provider as soon as possible to discuss treatment options.

Two patients who died of COVID-19 in Clallam County in the past month tried to self treat with Ivermectin — the anti-parasite drug more commonly used in pets and livestock — and that, combined with delaying care from a health care provider, is believed to have contributed to their deaths, Berry said.

“We really are encouraging folks to access treatment,” Berry said. “If you’re at high risk of severe disease, monoclonal antibodies are a really good therapy if you get can get them fast enough.

“We have them for folks who are at high risk. We have good treatment in hospitals for folks who are severe, who are needing hospital-level care. We talk a lot about how our hospital system is overwhelmed, but we are still here, and we really want to keep people alive.”

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