County Public Health Report ~ 11/15

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. The following summary is taken from the Peninsula Daily News for Nov. 16.

Dr. Allison Berry, health officer for Clallam and Jefferson counties, said Monday that case rates are still high and pose a risk to the community even though transmission hasn’t increased significantly. “We’re still seeing quite a bit of transmission and we are at a risky time,” Berry said during her briefing with the Board of Jefferson County Commissioners.

In Jefferson County, health officials recorded a case rate of 201.93 per 100,000 for the two weeks prior as of Nov. 10. It is a small increase from when the county had a rate of 181.82 cases per 100,000 for the two weeks prior as of Nov. 3. Case rates have to fall below 75 per 100,000 population before Berry will lift the order mandating that indoor dining is limited to vaccinated customers only.

Berry urged those gathering for Thanksgiving to be vaccinated family and friends only. However, if it is a mix of vaccinated and unvaccinated, she recommended people wear good face masks and distance from each other. Those traveling by plane should consider wearing a higher end face mask such as a KN95 or an N95, Berry said.

Berry continues to urge all residents 5 and older to get vaccinated for COVID-19, as people continue to bring gatherings indoors due to the worsening weather. A common piece of misinformation being spread is that many people have been dying from the COVID-19 vaccines, and that is false, Berry said.

Berry also said people won’t know how severe COVID-19 will affect them until it does, and there have been several cases of long haulers who will survive the initial infection but will have to manage new heart problems, respiratory issues, brain fog and other symptoms for months afterward, and some of those health problems are expected to be chronic throughout the rest of those patients’ lives. “You don’t know if you’re going to get a cold or you’re going to end up in the ICU,” Berry said.

According to the latest data from the state Department of Health, 81.6 percent of the population 12 and older in Jefferson County have started vaccinations, with 77.7 percent fully vaccinated. Of the entire population, 75.1 percent have begun vaccination and 71.5 percent are fully vaccinated, according to the state’s dashboard.

Jefferson County added four new cases on Monday from the weekend. The county has confirmed a total of 1,221 cases since the pandemic began, according to county public health data. As of Monday morning, five Jefferson County residents were hospitalized for COVID-19, while Clallam County had four residents hospitalized.

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.