Peninsula vaccination rates creep upward

Vaccination rates on the North Olympic Peninsula against COVID-19 continue to inch upward, driven mainly by residents complying with state and federal vaccination mandates, officials said.

“We’re seeing health care workers come in and get their vaccines, but no massive surge in vaccinations at this point,” said Dr. Allison Berry, health officer for Jefferson and Clallam counties.

Data compiled by the state Department of Health shows that, in Jefferson County, 78.2 percent of residents 12 and older have initiated vaccinations, 74.3 percent are fully vaccinated, and 71.9 percent of the total population has started vaccinations, and 68.3 percent are fully vaccinated, according to the state’s dashboard.

Clallam County has vaccinated 70 percent of residents 12 and older with at least one dose, with 64.3 percent fully vaccinated, while 62.2 percent of the total population has begun vaccinations with 57.1 percent fully vaccinated, according to the state’s dashboard.

On Tuesday, confirmed cases rose, but no new deaths were reported.

And recently, one district in Clallam County confirmed the first known case of in-school transmission from an infected student to one other student sitting close by.

Berry did not name the district where it occurred.

“Until the district shares it out, I don’t think I can,” she said regarding identifying the district.

Clallam County added 68 confirmed COVID-19 cases, raising its total to 3,649 since the pandemic began, according to county public health data.

Jefferson County added 16 new COVID-19 cases on Tuesday, raising its total to 887 since the pandemic began, public health data said.

Clallam County’s case rate is 1,239 per 100,000 population for the past two weeks as of Tuesday.

Jefferson County calculates its case rate weekly and recorded 532.92 cases per 100,000 for the two weeks prior as of Saturday.

Thirty-six residents have died from the novel coronavirus in Clallam County, while 13 residents have died in Jefferson County.

Since the beginning of February in Clallam County, 9.9 percent of new COVID-19 cases have been among fully vaccinated residents, meaning 90.1 percent of cases have been among unvaccinated residents, according to county data.

The majority of new COVID-19 cases on the Peninsula continues to be among unvaccinated residents, and Berry continues to urge all residents 12 and older to get vaccinated as soon as possible.

Schools

Berry continues to work closely with the various school districts, which have had individual cases of COVID-19 confirmed.

Concerning the case of in-school transmission that is the first confirmed on the Peninsula, Berry said the mitigation measures such as mask wearing and rapid testing have kept the spread to just the one student. Other cases among students have been contracted outside of the schools, she said.

“We were able to keep it at just that one transmission,” Berry said. “We don’t have any large-scale outbreaks.

“That’s about what we would expect, and it also shows how much safer the schools are than the community.

“The challenge is, when we move kids closer together in schools, we can’t promise there won’t be any in-school transmission.”

However, “with all the layered mitigation measures we have, we can really reduce the risk of transmission and keep our kids safe.”

Schools that have had widespread outbreaks of COVID-19 didn’t follow COVID-19 prevention protocols such as mask wearing, Berry said.

All districts on the North Olympic Peninsula follow stringent prevention measures, she added.

“We’re not seeing (widespread outbreaks) here, and we don’t anticipate that we will,” Berry said.

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