New coronavirus cases traced to UW outbreak

Jefferson County has two more positive COVID-19 cases, both tied to an outbreak at University of Washington fraternities in Seattle.

There is at least one other Jefferson County positive tied to the UW fraternity outbreak, Jefferson County Health Officer Dr. Tom Locke said Sunday.

There could be a fourth county case tied to it, too.

The two new positives, a man in his 30s and a woman in her 30s, brought Jefferson County’s total to 41.

Clallam County’s total confirmed cases remained at 45 after no new cases were reported this weekend, said Clallam County Health Officer Dr. Allison Unthank.

Clallam County is dealing with two outbreaks at Olympic Medical Center and Serenity House. On Saturday, OMC reported there were no new positives found among 389 tests done after two employees tested positive.

There were 535 tests pending in Clallam County, the results for which won’t be reported until today, Unthank said.

Jefferson County had 49 tests pending Sunday. With both counties combined, there are 86 confirmed positive cases on the North Olympic Peninsula.

Jefferson County applied last week to the state to move to Phase 3 of Gov. Jay Inslee’s Safe Start reopening plan, but Inslee announced Thursday that all applications will be frozen for at least two weeks because of an increase in the number of cases statewide.

Yakima, Tri-Cities and some pockets in the Puget Sound area have seen the biggest increase in the past couple of weeks. Yakima County, with a population of about 250,000, now has reported 7,740 positives, which is one person out of 32 in that county.

Meanwhile, Clallam County already had decided to delay its application to move to Phase 3 until July 21.

The outbreak from UW involves a dozen fraternity houses, according to The Associated Press. More than 800 UW students were tested last week in response.

This week, Inslee’s order will go into effect for businesses to not serve customers without face masks.

Clallam County and Jefferson County officials are expected to discuss that mandate today in web-broadcasted meetings.

Locke said Jefferson County Emergency Services Director Willie Bence will give an update on volunteers’ reports on masking compliance in businesses.

“We have some evidence that people are getting the message” about the effectiveness of masking, Locke said. “People have to take the politics out of it.”

“I have also noted improving mask compliance,” Unthank said. “We’re hopeful about that.”

Jefferson County’s COVID-19 update will be held at 9:45 a.m. and can be viewed at www.tinyurl.com/jeffcomeeting.

Clallam County did not have a COVID-19 update Friday due to the federal holiday but will have one at 10 a.m. Monday. It can be viewed at www.tinyurl.com/clallamcomtng.

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