Two more Clallam County residents died from COVID-19 on Monday, raising the total number of deaths in the county to 74 and 94 on the North Olympic Peninsula since the pandemic began.
The most newest deaths were men in their 60s and 80s, both of whom were unvaccinated, said Dr. Allison Berry, health officer for Clallam and Jefferson counties.
Berry expressed her condolences to their family and friends.
“It’s a particularly hard time of year to lose a family member,” she said.
Jefferson County reported no new deaths Monday. The county has had 20 residents die since the pandemic began.
Berry continues to strongly urge all residents 5 and older to get vaccinated as soon as possible if they haven’t already, and to get a booster dose if it’s been longer than six months since their initial vaccination series.
“I really encourage all of us to get vaccinated as soon as possible,” Berry said. “It is the absolute No. 1 thing you can do to reduce your risk of contracting COVID-19 and possibly dying from it, unfortunately.
“It’s a really good time to shore up that protection as we head into the holiday surge.”
Nationwide, COVID-19 cases are increasing again, with Washington being an outlier with cases still decreasing, Berry said. However, as more people travel and gather for the holidays, an increase in cases will be expected, she said.
Officials continue to receive reports of several small clusters of cases stemming from Thanksgiving gatherings, primarily among young unvaccinated children. The largest outbreak so far has had 10 residents sick from COVID-19, with six being children, Berry said.
The two long-term care facilities outbreaks that officials have been managing have closed with no new cases confirmed in more than two weeks, Berry said. The Clallam County outbreak had a total of 42 cases, while the Jefferson County outbreak had 15, she said.
As of Saturday, three cases of the omicron variant have been confirmed in Washington, with one case each confirmed in King, Thurston and Pierce counties, according to the state Department of Health.
No cases of omicron had been discovered by Monday on the Peninsula, but it’s only a matter of time, Berry said.
“We do tend to see COVID-19 move into our area about two weeks after it moves into King County, and with omicron moving into King County, within a couple of weeks, we would expect it to be here, whether we detect it or not,” Berry said.
Preliminary reports about omicron show it’s potentially more transmissible than the current delta variant, but health officials are still researching how severe the newest variant is, and if it’s either more or less severe than delta, Berry said.
On Monday, Clallam County added 31 cases of COVID-19 from the weekend. The county has confirmed a total of 5,359 cases since the start of the pandemic, county health data said.
Jefferson County added two new cases on Monday from the weekend. The county has confirmed a total of 1,324 cases since the pandemic began, according to county public health data.
Clallam County is seeing its case rate creep higher as cases from the holiday continue to be reported. On Monday, its case rate was at 213 per 100,000 population for the past two weeks as of Monday. On Friday, it had a case rate of 189 per 100,000 population for the past two weeks as of Thursday, 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.
Both counties have five residents hospitalized with COVID-19.