County Public Health Report ~ 4/11/22

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.

Jefferson’s COVID-19 cases have reached a plateau in the moderate range which indicates a recommendation for masking in indoor settings, according to County Health Officer Dr. Allison Berry. The Health Department is monitoring the Omicron BA.2 variant which is a more contagious version than its BA.1 predecessor but not more severe. She advised that this version, which is now the dominate one, is moving though western Washington’s I-5 corridor. She expects it will arrive in Jefferson in the next couple weeks. Masking, vaccination and good quality air ventilation in indoor spaces are the tools that are working to keep the rate of infection down.

Dr. Berry reported that approval has been given for a second booster for everyone 50 years old and older in the U.S. According to Berry, it is “safe” and a “very reasonable choice to get an additional booster….The area where we have a little less data is really on the necessity of an additional booster at this time,” she said. We’re still seeing very good protection against severe disease from three doses.” Dr. Berry said that if you are over 75 with multiple underlying comorbidities, it might be a good idea to go ahead and get boosted. COVID-19 vaccines are available at pharmacies and at Jefferson County Public Health, as well as through your health care provider and Jefferson Healthcare.

Director of Emergency Management (DEM) Willie Bence said there are no plans to scale up the mass vaccination clinics that were previously held. The DEM is focused on provide any vaccines to those who are homebound or have mobility issues. Call 360-344-9791 for more information. Test kits are available though the health department and libraries. In south county, antigen tests are available at the fire departments. Test kits may also be purchased online.

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.