Jamestown Family Clinic workers and Community Emergency Response Team volunteers celebrate the final day of the mass vaccination drive-thru clinic on April 29 at Carrie Blake Community Park in Sequim. Submitted photo

Jamestown Family Clinic workers and Community Emergency Response Team volunteers celebrate the final day of the mass vaccination drive-thru clinic on April 29 at Carrie Blake Community Park in Sequim. Submitted photo

Peninsula adds 24 COVID cases; super-spreaders to blame in Clallam County

  • Monday, May 3, 2021 10:51am
  • News

An additional 24 cases of COVID-19 had been confirmed by Sunday on the North Olympic Peninsula since Friday morning.

Eighteen more cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed since then, many of them children — although none with in-school transmission — and nearly all linked to three large gatherings that have put more than 100 people in quarantine, according to Dr. Allison Berry, county health officer, at about noon Sunday.

Jefferson County has confirmed six more cases since Friday morning, said Dr. Tom Locke, county health officer. None seem to be linked to super-spreader events such as those in Clallam County. Instead, they tend to be linked to travel to areas where infection is more prevalent, such as Kitsap County, he added.

“The continued upswing of cases in Washington is something we’re grappling with. We’re hoping the fourth wave will crest this month,” Locke said. “The danger is that, as you get more and more cases, there is a chain reaction.”

Berry said in a Sunday text message that the number of confirmed cases in Clallam County was up to 1,244. That’s 18 more than the number of 1,226 total since the pandemic began, a number she reported Friday morning in her weekly live-streamed update.

Nearly all of the new cases are related to the three large gatherings — two parties and a wedding — that bumped up numbers of confirmed cases by 14 last week, she said.

“A large proportion are children,” Berry said.

“We’ve had positive cases that attended three schools and two daycares so far,” she added.

None are cases of transmission in school buildings, Berry said. The county is investigating a possible case of daycare transmission.

Berry declines to identify facilities that have reported cases of the unique coronavirus or information such as the town in which they are located that might identify them.

Contact tracing is done by county officials, she said, and those who have been exposed will be contacted and asked to quarantine until they are either tested or past the time period to show symptoms.

More than 100 people have been in quarantine because of the three gatherings, Berry said.

Two public school districts on the Peninsula count cases of the virus in COVID-19 dashboards on their websites.

The Port Angeles School District reports that four cases within the B hybrid group have been confirmed, one each in Stevens Middle School, Port Angeles High School and Roosevelt and Hamilton elementary schools.

The Sequim School District reports it has had eight cases confirmed: three each in Sequim Middle School and Sequim High School, and two at Helen Haller Elementary School.

COVID-19 dashboard information is not posted on the websites of the Quilayute Valley, Crescent, Cape Flattery, Port Townsend, Quilcene, Chimacum or Brinnon school districts.

Jefferson County has no cases identified in public schools at this time, Locke said, although cases of students falling ill elsewhere have been reported in the past.

Locke also declines to identify facilities that report cases.

Jefferson County has confirmed 47 cases so far in April, about 11.9 percent of the 396 cases in the past year, according to county Public Health data.

Clallam County, a county of 76,770 population in 2020, now has a case rate of 105 per 100,000 for the past two weeks, keeping it in the state’s high-risk category. Jefferson County remains in the moderate-risk category.

Other counties in the state are in danger of being moved back into Phase 2 or possibly even Phase 1 of the state’s Roadmap to Recovery plan this week due to high case rates and hospitalizations, with evaluations set for Tuesday.

At this point, neither Jefferson nor Clallam are in danger of being moved back, but if cases rates continue to increase, both Locke and Berry have said they may impose restrictions themselves.

“Unless the governor changes the criteria, it looks like more counties will be stepping back from Phase 3,” Locke said.

“I don’t think even that will be enough. So much comes down to what’s going on in households, large gatherings and travel.

“People need to keep their guard up,” he added. “They know how to protect themselves. They just need to do it consistently.

Vaccination is the key, Locke said.

“Now anybody who wants to get vaccinated can pretty much do it that day,” he said.

Mass vaccination clinics, such as those in Sequim and Port Angeles, are fewer now because demand is less, Locke said, but numerous opportunities are available, including pop-up clinics, pharmacies and doctors’ offices.

Anyone who can’t physically go to get vaccinated can call their county’s department of emergency management: 360-417-2430 in Clallam County or 360-344-9791 in Jefferson County.

No appointments are needed for pop-up clinics.

The county and Barhop at 124 W. Railroad Ave. in Port Angeles are offering two “a Shot and a Beer” pop-up clinics using Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines. The clinics will be open to those 18 and older, but only those 21 and older who receive the shots will also be able to each get a free beer.

The clinics are scheduled from 5-8 p.m. Saturday and from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. May 10.

Appointments for Jefferson Healthcare’s clinics can be made at jeffersonhealthcare.org/covid-19-vaccine.

Jefferson Healthcare has opened new vaccine appointments for Johnson & Johnson and teens.

Appointments are available for Johnson & Johnson on Friday at the Jefferson Healthcare Drive Thru Immunization Clinic. Johnson & Johnson is a single-dose vaccine for those 18 and older.

Moderna appointments can be scheduled for Thursday with a second-dose appointment June 3. Moderna is a two-dose vaccine for individuals 18 and older.

Additionally, Jefferson Healthcare will administer the Pfizer vaccine (the only vaccine approved for use in those 16 and 17 at a special teen clinic on May 15 with a second-dose appointment on June 5. Each teen is required to be accompanied by their legal guardian or have the original patient acknowledgement form — available on the Jefferson Healthcare website — signed by a legal guardian. No photographs, copies or over-the-phone verbal consent can be accepted.

Jefferson County residents or individuals who work in Jefferson County can schedule COVID-19 vaccine appointments directly from the Jefferson Healthcare Vaccine website. First- and second-dose appointments are scheduled simultaneously three and four weeks apart, depending on vaccine brand, at the same time for each appointment.

All vaccinations are done at the Drive Thru Immunization Clinic in Port Townsend.

The final initial dose Moderna clinic at Forks Community Hospital was held Friday. More information can be found at ForksHospital.org.

Appointments can be made on these websites when available: Walmart, Walmart.com/covidvaccine; Safeway, safeway.com/pharmacy.html; QFC, qfc.com/rx/covid-eligibility.

The state has created a vaccination locator at vaccinelocator.doh.wa.gov.

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