County Public Health Report ~ 10/25

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 Deputy Health Officer Dr. Tom Locke. 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.

During her briefing to Commissioners this morning, Health Officer Dr. Allison Berry said Jefferson County has 1130 cases diagnosed so far in this response. The current case rate has gone up in the last week to 254/100,000. Four of our citizens are currently hospitalized, with three at Jefferson Healthcare. Dr. Berry said 74% of our cases at this point are among those who are unvaccinated. The primary driver of our rise in cases is workplace outbreaks. She said there is a workplace outbreak in a Jefferson County location with a relatively low vaccination rate, with 12 cases so far. She also reported that there’s a very large outbreak in Grays Harbor county that is spilling over into Jefferson County. There are some Jefferson County residents who are employees.

Currently in Jefferson County, 70% of our population is fully vaccinated; 77% of those who are eligible are fully vaccinated. Dr. Berry noted it’s one of the highest rates in the state. “We continue to see some lagging in our pediatric populations,” she said. “Of the eligible kids, only 50% of those 12 to 17 are fully vaccinated.” Dr. Berry offered the following: “I want to encourage everyone in our community. If your kid is eligible for getting vaccinated, please get them vaccinated soon. And regardless, the more that we can keep our overall case numbers down in the community, the better our schools will do. And the higher likelihood that our schools can stay normal, which is so critical for our kids’ mental health.”

Director of Emergency Management Willie Bence offered information about the County’s next mass vaccination clinics focused on the Moderna booster. Booster shots have been approved for those over 65, anyone with a significant underlying medical condition, and anyone who is in a high-risk workplace or living situation. If you received your second dose six months ago or more, you are eligible for a booster of Moderna.

For those who received the Johnson & Johnson single dose vaccine more than two months ago, they are eligible for a booster as well. The CDC has approved the mixing of doses, and this is particularly important for those who received the J&J. Bence said J&J recipients are seeing a better response to one of the mRNA vaccines – either Pfizer or Moderna. Moderna Booster Clinics will be held November 6 at Chimacum School with 360 appointments available 1-4pm and on November 13 at Blue Heron Middle School in Port Townsend. For more information or to make an appointment see the Jefferson County Public Health website or call 360-344-9791. Local pharmacies and your primary care physician are also offering boosters.

Submit your Public Health questions to Dr. Allison Berry and to Willie Bence 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.