Public health officials on the North Olympic Peninsula continue to watch for a large surge in COVID-19 cases stemming from Thanksgiving gatherings.
New COVID-19 cases in Clallam County are primarily tied to several Thanksgiving gatherings, while new cases in Jefferson County tend to be household contacts of known cases, said Dr. Allison Berry, health officer for Clallam and Jefferson counties, on Tuesday.
“We do anticipate some degree of a surge, but the size of it could be much smaller than anticipated due to how many of us are vaccinated, and that will really depend on how we planned our gatherings, how many unvaccinated gatherings there might have been, things like that,” Berry said.
On Tuesday, Clallam County added 27 cases of COVID-19. The county has confirmed a total of 5,386 cases since the start of the pandemic, county health data said.
Jefferson County added 11 new cases on Tuesday. The county has confirmed a total of 1,335 cases since the pandemic began, according to county public health data.
If a spike in cases is going to occur, Berry expects officials potentially will start to see it sometime this week and into next week.
“Looking at early indications, we’re expecting to see a bit of a bump — at least in Clallam County … it does look like our numbers are going up — but we’re not seeing a significant spike yet,” Berry said.
Clallam County is approaching 70 percent of all residents starting vaccinations. That once was considered to be a large milestone for approaching herd immunity, but since the delta variant became the dominant strain, health officials estimate at least 80 percent of residents will need to be fully vaccinated to reach herd immunity, Berry said.
However, officials have noted an increase in Clallam County vaccinations not only among children but also adults.
Jefferson County continues to have steady vaccinations and has almost reached 80 percent of the county being fully vaccinated, Berry said.
“Any additional vaccinations will help us get to that herd immunity,” Berry said.
According to the latest data from the state Department of Health, 83.1 percent of the population 12 and older in Jefferson County have started vaccinations, with 78.6 percent fully vaccinated.
Of the entire population, 76.4 percent have begun vaccination and 72.3 percent are fully vaccinated, according to the state’s dashboard.
In Clallam County, 77.7 percent of the population 12 and older have started vaccinations, with 72.6 percent fully vaccinated.
Of the total population, 69.1 percent have begun vaccinations, with 64.5 percent fully vaccinated, according to the state’s dashboard.
The state has not started tabulating the percentage of residents 5 and older who are vaccinated yet — outside of the total population — but Berry expects it will start doing so soon.
Berry continues to strongly urge all residents 5 and older to get vaccinated as soon as a possible and for those who are fully vaccinated to get a booster shot if it’s been more than six months since their initial vaccination series.
Residents can find vaccination appointments and booster dose appointments using the state’s vaccination locator at vaccinelocator.doh.wa.gov.
Clallam County is seeing its case rate creep higher as cases from the holiday continue to be reported.
On Tuesday, the county reported a rate of 218 cases per 100,000 population for the past two weeks as of Tuesday. On Monday, its case rate was at 213 per 100,000 for the past two weeks, according to county public health data.
Jefferson County recorded a case rate of 214.35 per 100,000 for the two weeks prior as of Dec. 1, according to county public health data. Jefferson County health officials had recorded a case rate of 192.61 per 100,000 for the two weeks prior as of Nov. 17.
Neither county reported a new death on Tuesday. Jefferson County has had 20 residents die from COVID-19, while Clallam County has had 74 residents die since the pandemic began.