Health officer: Large church COVID outbreak over

A large church COVID-19 outbreak that saw 24 Clallam County residents infected with COVID-19 and two subsequent deaths has not had new cases for more than two weeks.

That outbreak is considered over by the county health department.

While new infections are not expected from that outbreak, some residents are still hospitalized due to the novel coronavirus they contracted from the outbreak, said Dr. Allison Berry, Clallam County health officer.

Clallam County Public Health still has one outbreak at a smaller church that has had five confirmed cases so far. That outbreak could see more cases, Berry said.

Berry and Dr. Tom Locke, Jefferson County health officer, have said they will not name the location of an outbreak if they feel they are able to contact trace all exposures.

Clallam County has five residents hospitalized, with two in the Intensive Care Unit, Berry said.

Jefferson County confirmed one additional COVID-19 case Wednesday; it remained under investigation. Clallam County confirmed two additional cases tied to social gatherings.

Berry noted that Clallam County is starting to have COVID-19 cases from Fourth of July celebrations. Her department will be monitoring those situations closely, she said, since July 2020 saw a large spike in COVID-19 cases due to the holiday weekend.

Jefferson County Public Health is relaunching some of its other services that were paused earlier in the pandemic. It is reopening offices to the public and restarting well child appointments and other family supportive services, Locke said.

“We can’t stop doing the pandemic stuff, but it can’t be the only thing we’re doing,” Locke said.

The latest data shows 74.8 percent of Jefferson County residents 16 and older have initiated vaccinations, with 71.6 percent of them fully vaccinated, while 67.6 percent of the total population has started vaccinations, and 64.7 percent are fully vaccinated, according to the state’s dashboard.

Clallam County has vaccinated 64.8 percent of residents 16 and older with at least one dose, with 60.7 percent of them fully vaccinated, while 56 percent of the total population has begun vaccinations and 52.3 percent fully vaccinated, according to the state’s dashboard.

Both health officers continue to urge residents 12 and older to get vaccinated, and Locke would like to see vaccination levels in the 80 percent zone for the community to have widespread protection, he said.

“Vaccination is the only really good way to bring (the pandemic) to an end,” Locke said. “The more unvaccinated people we have, the longer it’s going to last and the more severe it is.”

Clallam County has confirmed 18 COVID-19 cases so far this month as of Wednesday, about 1.21 percent of the 1,483 cases reported since the pandemic began, according to county data. Fourteen residents have died of the disease.

Jefferson County has confirmed five COVID-19 cases so far this month as of Wednesday, about 1.1 percent of the 455 cases reported since the start of the pandemic, according to county public health data. Four residents have died of COVID, reports say.

Thirty-five cases were active in Clallam County on Wednesday. Jefferson County had five active cases.

Both counties are in the state’s moderate-risk category with case rates of 64 per 100,000 population for the past two weeks as of Wednesday in Clallam County, and Jefferson County at about 34.48 cases per 100,000 for the two weeks prior as of Saturday.