County Public Health Report ~ 3/07/22

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 of Emergency Management, gave a report. The summary below was provided by and used with the permission of Jefferson County Government.

Public Health Officer Dr. Allison Berry today said Jefferson County’s COVID-19 case numbers continue to drop. She announced that our documented case rate is 385/100,000 with a 10% positivity rate. “This week, we are transitioning from the pandemic phase of our response to the endemic,” Dr. Berry said. “In the endemic phase, we are transitioning to a period where where don’t think COVID-19 is going to overwhelm critical parts of our infrastructure.” She said our society will be able to function with this level of disease right now. She noted Jefferson is moving toward “not mandating” masks in indoor spaces, but rather “recommending them.” The reason: our case rates are still relatively high. “So right now, in Jefferson County, if you walk into a room with 25 people and you’re all unmasked, there is a 17% probability that one of those people has COVID-19,” she explained. “And so that’s why we still recommend you wear a mask because that’s a pretty high probability that someone has COVID-19. When we see those case rates continue to go down, when they get to less than 100 cases per 100,000, that probability goes down to 5%. And so that’s why we think it’s reasonable to start unmasking when we get to that rate.”

Director of Emergency Management Willie Bence said DEM efforts are focused on an after-action review of Jefferson’s COVID-19 response. His team is restocking KN95 masks in some stores and will continue as long as the state program is making them available. If you are looking for a booster dose, are homebound, or have limited mobility, call 360-344-9791 and leave a message. Bence said his team is “happy to come and pay you a visit.” Vaccinations are increasing at about 1% a week. There is a rise in vaccinations for kids in our community. Currently 53% of middle- and high school-aged kids are fully vaccinated.

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.