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. Also Willie Bence, Director, Director of Emergency Management, gave a report. The summary below was provided by and used with the permission of Jefferson County Government.
County Health Officer Dr. Allison Berry told the Commissioners Monday morning that the United States is experiencing a surge of COVID-19 cases, up 43%, with hospitalizations up 23%. Most of the surge is being driven by the Midwest and Northeast, with the highest hospitalization rates in Michigan, and significant rises in the Southwest, in particular Arizona.
Washington State was bucking this trend, seeing cases decrease. However, over this last week the numbers have started to rise again. Dr. Berry said she anticipates a surge through the holiday season. Jefferson County is doing well, she reported. Case rates have dropped a bit – 165 per 100,000. Two people are currently hospitalized; neither is a local patient. No new deaths have been reported.
Dr. Berry said, as she reviews our local epidemiology, the majority of our cases are tracing back to Thanksgiving gatherings. In Jefferson County, most of those have actually been children who were either unvaccinated, under-vaccinated, or household contacts of positive cases. There are no large-scale outbreaks in Jefferson County.
“Your risk of dying due to COVID-19 if you are unvaccinated is 14 times your risk if you weren’t fully vaccinated,” Dr. Berry explained. “With the rise of Delta, we are reminding everyone about the importance of getting boosted, especially if you’re in that elder population,” she continued. “But with the new Omicron variant, we’re also recommending that the rest of us get boosted as well.”
She said 77% of our population is fully vaccinated and 67% of elders have received their boosters. Omicron has not been detected in Jefferson. Data suggests that it is more transmissible than Delta. “The data that we have really shows that if you’re not vaccinated, now is really the time to get vaccinated with the Omicron variant circulating,” Dr. Berry said. “The protection you get from prior infections alone – it’s just not holding up. If you are fully vaccinated, you do still have a protection but we do recommend that you go ahead and get a booster as well.”
Emergency Management Director Willie Bence said this Saturday, December 18, there will be a Vaccination Clinic at the Chimacum School multipurpose room. The morning session from 9 to noon will be dedicated to first and second doses for five to 11 year olds. There are 50 spaces available in that clinic. In the afternoon between 1 and 4pm, Moderna boosters will be available for anyone who is eligible -anyone who’s six months out from their Pfizer or Moderna second dose, or two months out from their one single dose of J&J. There are 125 spaces available in that clinic.
Go to the Public Health website or contact the call center at 360-344-9791 for information and appointments. This is the last and mass vaccination clinic in Jefferson for the year. More information for programming in January will be forthcoming.
Submit your Public Health questions to Dr. Allison Berry and 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.