County Public Health Report ~ 9/27

The following is a summary of the presentation during the Public Health briefings at this week’s Board of County Commissioners meeting made by Jefferson and Clallam County Public Health Officer Dr. Allison Berry. Spokespeople from Jefferson Healthcare joined to address the meeting. Also Willie Bence, Director, Director of Emergency Management, gave a report. The summary was provided by and used with the permission of Jefferson County Government.

County Health Officer Dr. Allison Berry told the Commissioners this morning that both Jefferson and Clallam counties are leading the way in the Puget Sound area with some of the largest decreases in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations. Currently, Jefferson Healthcare has no positive inpatients for the first time in a long time. Dr. Berry reported there are two county residents who are currently hospitalized in out-of-county facilities. Clallam County has 8 people in the hospital, down from a peak of 21.

Our current case rate is 275/100,000, down 41% in the last week; Clallam is down 35%. Washington State is experiencing a plateau in cases,  There are 45 available ICU beds in the state. On the west coast, there is a slow decrease in cases.

In response to misconceptions about Covid being spread by those who are vaccinated,  Dr. Berry offered some data. “The vaccines, while they have had some decrease in efficacy with the rise of the Delta variant, are still incredibly effective at preventing any infection at all. So, we are still seeing, depending on the study, between 74 and 88% effectiveness at preventing COVID-19.” She said if you are vaccinated, you’re less likely to have the virus which means you can’t give it to other people. And then, even if you are unlikely enough to get one of those breakthrough infections, then we see that you have lower amounts of viable virus that you could transmit to other people, and you also are infectious for a shorter period of time – three days as opposed to 10.

“All those things come together to make you less likely to transmit the virus,” she said. Dr. Berry also addressed the conversations about potential side effects from the vaccine. She explained that there is an association between mRNA vaccines and the myocarditis. “But one that we haven’t talked enough about is there is a much stronger association between getting COVID-19 and myocarditis. So, when we see young people die of COVID-19, the number one thing they’re dying of there is myocarditis. You are 54 times more likely to get myocarditis from COVID-19 itself, than you are from a COVID-19 vaccine.”

Director of Emergency Management Willie Bence said that three mass Pfizer vaccination clinics for booster doses have been scheduled for only those 65 plus, or 50 to 64 with an underlying condition. Those conditions are listed on the Public Health website. The schedule is Saturdays:
– October 9 at the Chimacum School Multi-Purpose room;
– October16 at Blue Heron Middle School in Port Townsend; and
– October 23 at the Quilcene school gym.
Hours are 9am to noon and 1pm to 4pm. During each clinic there will be about 600 doses available.  Links will be posted on the Jefferson County Public Health website or call 360-344-9791 from 9am to 4pm beginning tomorrow. Appointments are required for these clinics. Remember to bring your vaccination card to be updated.

Submit your Public Health questions to Dr. Allison Berry by emailing [email protected]. Note: The weekly deadline for these to be submitted is on Fridays at noon, to be answered at the following Monday’s BOCC meeting.