Libraries, drive-ins included in new Phase 2 guidelines

No new COVID-19 cases reported on Peninsula

North Olympic Peninsula health officials lauded Wednesday new guidance that allows libraries and drive-in theaters to operate with restrictions in Phase 2 of Gov. Jay Inslee’s four-phase reopening plan for COVID-19.

No new cases of the new coronavirus were reported in Clallam or Jefferson counties Wednesday.

Public health officials were investigating the contacts of three cases that emerged this week.

“One of our cases did have several contacts, so those folks are all in quarantine, and some are being tested right now,” Clallam County Health Officer Dr. Allison Unthank said Wednesday.

Clallam County had two unrelated cases reported Tuesday — a man in his 20s and a man in his 80s — that brought the county’s confirmed case total to 27.

An asymptomatic Jefferson County boy was discovered to have contracted COVID-19 after he was tested prior to having surgery Sunday.

He represented the county’s 31st confirmed case.

“We’re expecting that case investigation will yield additional cases, but we don’t know that for sure yet,” Jefferson County Health Officer Dr. Tom Locke said Wednesday.

“Our hope is actually that it will lead us to other people who have mild infection and give us an opportunity to prevent that infection from spreading.

Gov. Jay Inslee issued guidance Tuesday that allows libraries to provide curbside pickup and drive-in movie theaters to operate with reservations during Phase 2.

“I think libraries are an important part of the community and can be done safely,” Unthank said in a telephone interview.

“So I’m just excited that it’s possible for library services to reopen to some degree. They didn’t used to be a Phase 2 activity.”

The Wheel-In Motor Movie in Port Townsend re-opened last Friday.

Locke said he advocated for the re-opening of the drive-in, which is scheduled to host graduation ceremonies for Chimacum and Port Townsend high schools on June 12 and June 13.

“We thought that that would be an excellent use of it,” said Locke, who added: “We think drive-ins are probably a very safe way to see movies.”

Locke said he was drafting a response to frequently asked questions on state and local masking directives for COVID-19.

“We’re focusing on investigating these (new) cases,” Unthank said, “and continuing to encourage folks that, while we’re excited to be in Phase 2, to try to take it slowly when you start re-engaging with those Phase 2 activities and continuing to be very cautious, wearing masks and keeping distance when you’re out and about.”

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