Virus Watch Reports

County Public Health Report ~ 10/11

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. Spokespeople from Jefferson Healthcare joined to address the meeting. 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.

Click here to read complete notes on today’s briefings

County Public Health Report ~ 10/04

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. Spokespeople from Jefferson Healthcare joined to address the meeting. 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.

Click here to read complete notes on today’s briefings

Jefferson County September 2021 Case Numbers

Jefferson County recorded 305 COVID-19 infections in September, nearly one-third of the 1,000 local cases during the 19 months that we’ve been in the pandemic. We had 175 cases in August, our previous peak. Together, August and September of 2021 account for 48% of all the COVID-19 infections recorded in Jefferson County. The steep rise these last two months coincided with the lifting of some COVID-19 restrictions and the rapid spread of the Delta variant, which now accounts for virtually all new infections in the U.S. As is true in most places with increasing infection rates, hospitals in Clallam, Jefferson, and Kitsap counties have sometimes filled to capacity. The vast majority of recently hospitalized COVID-19 patients were not vaccinated.

County Public Health Report ~ 9/13

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. Spokespeople from Jefferson Healthcare joined tto address the meeting. 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.

Click here to read complete notes on today’s briefings

County Public Health Report ~ 9/07

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. Spokespeople from Jefferson Healthcare joined to address the meeting. 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.

Click here to read complete notes on today’s briefings

Jefferson County August 2021 Case Numbers

The 175 additional cases in August are more than twice the number in any previous month (there were 82 in January 2021 and 79 in November 2020). In just one month, these 175 new cases account for 25 percent of all 695 cases recorded in Jefferson County. It is believed that the actual number is higher, but many people who use home testing kits do not report the results to the local health department.

Also note that nearly 100% of new cases in Washington and the U.S. are the Delta variant. Delta results in a higher number of cases requiring hospitalization and is significantly more contagious than all other variants to date.

KPTZ’s Through Science to Health ~ 8/27

On today’s Through Science to Health, KPTZ’s Dick Keenan interviewed Kate Keenan, Retired Communicable Disease Investigator from San Diego County. They discussed the big picture, that the virus continues to pose a threat to our collective health 18 months after the first reported cases in our state.

The Delta variant is dramatically changing the face of the pandemic.  It is more transmissible and infectious, affecting even those who have been fully vaccinated. Returning to masking when indoors, despite vaccination, is the best chance of reducing community spread. Our current case rate is the highest it’s ever been: 263 per 100,000 population.

Vaccination remains effective at preventing hospitalization and death, but slightly less effective at reducing infection, once exposed. Thus the new recommendation to provide an additional dose for those immunocompromised persons. This data comes from a country with high immunization rates – Israel – who decided that an additional dose would blunt fresh waves of hospitalizations in the face of the delta variant. The additional doses are not a new formula, but a repeat of the shots you originally received. Future vaccines may be reformulated according to the variants circulating. 

Human behavior is the most complicated factor in maneuvering this pandemic. Although we have made remarkable progress with a safe and effective vaccine, medical treatments and sufficient masking supplies, there is also progress in a population response to the current threat of the Delta variant. As much as we want our old world back, many individuals, organizations and businesses are adopting the interventions we know stems the tide of more community spread such as masking, reducing traveling and monitoring ourselves for any sign of infection.

County Public Health Report ~ 8/23

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, along with Dr. Tom Locke, who has stepped back to serve as Deputy Public Health Office. 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.

Click here to read complete notes on today’s briefings

Note: The next scheduled BOCC meeting will be held Tuesday, September 7 beginning at 9am. The COVID-19 briefing by County Health Officer Dr. Allison Berry and Department of Emergency Management Willlie Bence will begin at 9:45am.

County Public Health Report ~ 8/16

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, along with Dr. Tom Locke, who has stepped back to serve as Deputy Public Health Office. 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.

Click here to read complete notes on today’s briefings

County Public Health Report ~ 8/09

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, along with Dr. Tom Locke, who has stepped back to serve as Deputy Public Health Office. 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.

County Health Officer Dr. Allison Berry said the Jefferson County’s COVID-19 numbers are not looking good; now there’s a case rate of 197/100,000 – the highest numbers reported during the pandemic. She said “Hospital Strain” is real, emphasizing that all healthcare workers should be vaccinated. Berry said this is a critical phase of the pandemic and there is a high risk of overwhelming our healthcare system.

Breakthrough infections represent 10% of the positive cases reported in Jefferson. The cases are mild, and none have transferred to others. Berry said that there is recurring misinformation spread about the vaccine. It does not affect pregnant women or their fetus. “COVID-19 is dangerous on mom and on pregnancy itself,” she said. “If you are thinking of getting pregnant, get vaccinated.” 

Dr. Berry said that a masking requirement is likely in our future given our capacity limitations in indoor spaces. COVID-19 tests are available at Jefferson Healthcare’s drive-through testing station and at Jefferson County Public Health. Test kits are available at local pharmacies and online.  If you feel ill, please get tested.

Given the expected hot weather later this week, Emergency Management Director Willie Bence said that cooling shelters will be open in south county. Information will be available via NIXLE, this county Facebook page, reader boards, and newspapers.  To receive notifications from NIXLE: text jeffcodem to 888777.

Submit your Public Health questions to Dr. Allison Berry 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.

Jefferson County July 2021 Case Numbers

This graph shows the monthly and cumulative number of COVID-19 infections reported in Jefferson County, from March 2020 through July 2021. Data source: Jefferson County Public Health Department website, graph created by KPTZ.

As of July 31, 2021 the total number of COVID-19 cases in Jefferson County was 520. This due to an increase of 70 cases in the past month, a significant increase from 34 new cases last month, due to the Delta Variant. 

County Public Health Report ~ 8/02

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, along with Dr. Tom Locke, who has stepped back to serve as Deputy Public Health Office. 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.

Public Health Officer Dr. Allison Berry told Commissioners Monday that the first case of the COVID-19 Delta Variant has reached Jefferson. She described it as “profoundly contagious” with “high viral loads.” Jefferson County continues to see high numbers, with a case rate of 138 per 100,000, the second highest recorded rate since the pandemic began. The last time it was this high was during the holiday season. Case rates in the U.S. have risen 149% in the last week with the worst outbreaks in Louisiana, Missouri, Arkansas, and Florida. In Washington, there has been a 63% increase in cases, with a 33% increase in hospitalizations. 

Berry said cases are “being driven almost exclusively by unvaccinated folks who travel and bring the infection home, to work, and to their friends.” There are no large-scale outbreaks in the county. She cautioned that current vaccines are 97% effective but are not bulletproof. “That’s why we recommend adding a mask for indoor environments,” Berry said. “If you’re in an indoor space where you don’t know the vaccine status of the people around you, or you know some of them are unvaccinated, we recommend putting on a mask so you can be protected…so you can avoid bringing that infection home potentially to anyone else.”

Emergency Management Director Willie Bence reported that Jefferson Healthcare is ramping up its drive-through testing program again and the Nurse Consult Line is has been reactivated: 360-344-3094. DEM will be offering a Back to School pop-up Pfizer clinic at the Quilcene School District August 23. This is for both Quilcene and Brinnon students. More information will be forthcoming for this clinic, as well as others being scheduled for late August and September. Bench said DEM has a supply of masks for businesses wanting them, along with hand sanitizers. They are working on new signage, too.

Submit your Public Health questions to Dr. Allison Berry 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.

County Public Health Report ~ 7/26

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, along with Dr. Tom Locke, who has stepped back to serve as Deputy Public Health Office. 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.

On Monday, Jefferson County Health Officer Dr. Allison Berry told the Commissioners and KPTZ listeners there is a significant rise in COVID-19 cases in Washington State. Cases are up 133% and hospitalizations are up by 10%. 
Because of this uptick in cases, Berry recommended a return to masking, regardless of vaccination status. “Any place where you are going to be spending time around people and you don’t know their vaccine status, we recommend masking up.” She mentioned the office, grocery stores, movie theaters, and churches as examples. “This (uptick) is really driven by the Delta variant,” Berry said. “We have not seen Delta variants or at least not diagnosed yet locally, but we certainly anticipate that it’s likely here and just hasn’t been caught yet.”

Jefferson County is up to 493 cases, or 72 per 100,000. Berry reported the newest cases are being driven by unvaccinated people in Jefferson County, mostly gathering indoors, at social gatherings, and traveling. Jefferson has a 66% fully-vaccinated rate; with those who are 12 and older, the rate climbs to 71%. Vaccinations are available at Jefferson Health Care and the Safeway, QFC, and Tri-Area Pharmacies. “The key message I want folks to know is that we’re seeing a dramatic rise in cases. If you haven’t gotten vaccinated yet, now is really the time to do it,” Berry said.

Emergency Management Director Willie Bence addressed the possibility of wildfire smoke coming to Jefferson County. Bence said while we haven’t had any smoke yet this year, fires are growing across the Pacific Northwest. “People should consider how to protect themselves from smoke if it does come here,” he said. You can check on the air quality by going to https://wasmoke.blogspot.com/. Another good website to get wildfire information is https://www.dnr.wa.gov/Wildfires.

Submit your Public Health questions to Dr. Allison Berry 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.

County Public Health Report ~ 7/19

The following is a summary of the presentation during the Public Health briefings at this week’s Board of County Commissioners meeting made by Dr. Tom Locke, our local Public Health Officer who has stepped back to serve as Deputy Public Health Officer, and Dr. Allison Berry, who now takes on the mantle of Jefferson County Public Health Officer. The summary was provided by and used with the permission of Jefferson County Government.

During the County Commissioners’ meeting, Dr. Allison Berry was introduced as Jefferson’s new County Health Officer. Dr. Tom Locke, who has been in this role for over 25 years, is stepping back to spend more time with his family.
“I’ve got to be honest that the COVID-19 response is exhausting as well as gratifying, and it’s not over,” Locke admitted. “We all have a lot more to do, both in our official capacities and as volunteers. This has been, and continues to be, a community-wide response.”

Locke cautioned that COVID-19 is not the only public health crisis we face. He said the opiate epidemic is still raging and has become worse during the pandemic. Locke gave Dr. Berry high praise as the health officer for Clallam County as well as being a colleague and co-worker at the Jamestown Family Health Center. 

Dr. Berry said it was her pleasure to step forward in the role and it was “quite an honor to take over for such an incredible health officer. “I think Tom Locke has really set the stage for what a health officer can do and what a difference a health officer can make, and I have been honored to learn from him,” she said.

All three Commissioners leveled praise on Dr. Locke’s commitment to the community. Heidi Eisenhour said she called Dr. Locke Mr. Rogers “because the adults and kids of the county have been tuning it to hear his weekly updates. I think we need to give you a cardigan sweater,” she said.

Submit your Public Health questions to Dr. Allison Berry 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.

County Public Health Report ~ 7/12

The following is a summary of the presentation made by Dr. Tom Locke, our local Public Health Officer and Willie Bence, Director, DEM, Jefferson County, during the Public Health briefings at this week’s Board of County Commissioners meeting. The summary was provided by and used with the permission of Jefferson County Government.

Of all the eligible County residents 12 years and older, County Health Officer Dr. Tom Locke reported that 70% have been fully vaccinated. “This is among the highest rates in the state,” he said. “ But it’s not where we really need to be to control the variants.  We need that population immunity rates in the 80-85% range to really control that transmission of variants, and we knew very early on we were in a race with the variants that if we didn’t get people vaccinated soon enough.” Locke said vaccine-induced immunity is much more protective than natural immunity, and “you don’t run the risk that 10-30% getting long COVID or the 5-10% risk of being hospitalized, or if your child is around 2% of children who are getting COVID-19 are now being hospitalized.” He stressed that people who have had COVID-19 “still need to get vaccinated because it is the only way to give them good protection from the variants that are likely coming.” It takes five to six weeks from the first vaccination to be fully protected. COVID-19 cases in Jefferson are circulating among those who are unvaccinated. Dr. Locke noted of the 10 cases reported last week, five were in one household. Every person tested positive. None were hospitalized . As of today, two people are in the hospital and one is  in the ICU with COVID-19.

Director Of Emergency Management Wilie Bence said DEM is winding down its pop-up clinic efforts. They will be ready to handle long-term vaccination strategy focused on distributing booster shots when they’re available. If you have questions about vaccinations, are homebound or just need help scheduling, call 360-344-9791. He noted hospitalizations and bed occupancy are up across the state due to people choosing elective surgeries.

Submit your Public Health questions to Dr. Tom Locke 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.

County Public Health Report ~ 7/06

The following is a summary of the presentation made by Dr. Tom Locke, our local Public Health Officer and Willie Bence, Director, DEM, Jefferson County, during the Public Health briefings at this week’s Board of County Commissioners meeting. The summary was provided by and used with the permission of Jefferson County Government.

County Health Officer Dr. Tom Locke reported that the Jefferson County COVID-19 infection rate has seen a drop in positive cases, with 11 in the past 2 weeks. There have not been any Gamma or Delta variants reported in Jefferson County. For those 12 and older, 73.3% of the eligible County population have received one dose of the vaccine, while 70.1% have been fully immunized. Jefferson is bested only by San Juan and King counties.

Dr.Locke said that cold viruses are beginning to circulate in Jefferson County and that wearing a mask if you are sick is “incredibly effective for source control.” It protects others from you. Consider wearing one.

Director of Emergency Management Willie Bence told Commissioners that a special pop-up vaccination clinic will be held for veterans during the Veteran Stand Down event at the Elks Club in Port Townsend, July 26 from 10am to 2pm. The Johnson & Johnson vaccine will be available. No other pop-ups are being scheduled at this time, although DEM stands ready to activate if events warrant. Vaccines continue to be provided through local pharmacies and Jefferson Healthcare’s Express Clinic. Emergency Management’s COVID-19 Call Center will continue to operate. For information, call 360-344-9791.

Next week’s Monday, July 12 BOCC meeting will be held in-person at the Courthouse in the Commissioners’ Chambers beginning at 9am. If you plan to attend, please leave plenty of time to check in at the basement entrance. Be prepared to show your vaccination card, sign an attestation, or wear a mask if you are not fully vaccinated. The meeting also will be live-streamed through the county website at www.co.jefferson.wa.us, with links to Zoom or phone. The Chambers has a 49-person occupancy limit. This is the first live BOCC meeting in the courthouse since the beginning of the pandemic.

County Public Health Report ~ 6/28

The following is a summary of the presentation made by Dr. Tom Locke, our local Public Health Officer and Willie Bence, Director, EOC, Jefferson County, during the Public Health briefings at this week’s Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) meeting.
Note: Due to the legal holiday this coming Monday, the next BOCC meeting is rescheduled to Tuesday, July 6, at the same time, 9:45 am. The following week, July 12’s meeting will resume on Monday morning.

According to County Health Officer Dr.Tom Locke, in Jefferson County, 67% have had at least one COVID-19 vaccine while 64% are fully vaccinated. That’s the second highest rate for a fully vaccinated population in the state, second only to San Juan County. In the 12-and-over-eligible population, 73% have had at least one dose and 69% are fully vaccinated.

COVID-19 restrictions imposed by Governor Jay Inslee are coming to an end this Wednesday.  Retail establishments will not require a mask for entry. However, unvaccinated individuals still are required to wear masks indoors for their own protection, given the more transmissible variants that now predominate.

Vaccinated people and those under 5 years old are not required to mask, however they should still wear masks indoors in crowded settings. Anyone who is immune suppressed, taking immune-suppressing medications, who is on cancer chemotherapy, or who has had a cancer that affects their immune system should speak with there physician. Look to the Public Health Webpage for messaging around these changing guidelines.

Emergency Management Director Willie Bence said because of the decreased demand for vaccinations, COVID-19 pop-up clinics are being wrapped up for the time being. Local pharmacies and Jefferson Healthcare Express Clinic will continue to offer vaccines. The County has  a good supply of Moderna and Johnson & Johnson on hand. The community masking program will stand down, too. Community volunteers have distributed masks to community groups, grocery stores, and local businesses free of charge since the beginning of the pandemic. The Department of Emergency Management Call Center (360-344-9791) will remain open but will not be staffed completely during business hours. Questions requiring an immediate need can be fielded by the Nurse Consult Line at Jefferson Healthcare at 360-344-3094.

County Public Health Report ~ 6/21

The following is a summary of the presentation made by Dr. Tom Locke, our local Public Health Officer and Willie Bence, Director, EOC, Jefferson County, during the Public Health briefings at this week’s Board of County Commissioners(BOCC) meeting.

County Health Officer Dr. Tom Locke told the Commissioners today that Jefferson County’s infection rate has risen, with 22 cases reported in the last two weeks. Clusters of unvaccinated, unmasked people in indoor gatherings were affected. Locke said these unmasked indoor gatherings are going to be “a pattern throughout the summer. When unvaccinated people get together, especially in indoor spaces, they should be reminded that they still are required by a secretary of health order to wear a mask in those settings. But whether they’ll actually do it or not is an open question.” Vaccination rates in Jefferson County are still among the highest in the state. Of those eligible for the vaccine 12 and older, 72.3% have had at least one dose and almost 69% are fully vaccinated. Among those 65 and older, 86% are fully vaccinated. Locke explained that the Gamma variant – the Brazilian variant – is now prevalent in the state and seems to be linked to outbreaks in British Columbia where it is active.

Director of Emergency Management Willie Bence announced three pop-up vaccination possibilities this week: 
– Wednesday: Tri-Area Food Bank – 9:30am to 2pm – Moderna and Johnson & Johnson – by appointment or walk-in. 
– Friday: Sunrise Coffee in Boat Haven – 3-7pm – Moderna and Johnson & Johnson – by appointment or walk-in.
– Saturday: Jefferson County Farmers Market – 10am-1pm – Johnson & Johnson. 

To make an appointment, call 360-344-9791 or visit the Public Health Webpage. Vaccinations also are available at local pharmacies, Jefferson Healthcare through the Express Clinic, and thorough your local physician. 

Bence said DEM has plans to continue these vaccination efforts through the end of July. He reported that the vaccination effort by DEM was buoyed by the help of hundreds of volunteers who have logged more than 250,000 hours, equating to $200,000 worth of monetary value through the end of June.

KPTZ’s Through Science to Health ~ 6/18

Today’s Through Science to Health edition is the final program in this iteration. Restrictions that have been in place during the pandemic will be lifted by Governor Inslee on June 30 for the state and Dr Locke’s masking mandate for Jefferson County expires that same day. While the pandemic is not ‘over’ KPTZ’s Chris Bricker and co-host Lynn Sorensen, RN decided to conclude the program within the month of June on its alternate Friday schedule. Tune in to today’s wrap up of Through Science to Health and thanks for listening!

County Public Health Report ~ 6/14

The following is a summary of the presentation made by Dr. Tom Locke, our local Public Health Officer and Willie Bence, Director, DEM, Jefferson County, during the Public Health briefings at this week’s Board of County Commissioners meeting. The summary was provided by and used with the permission of Jefferson County Government.

County Health Officer Dr. Tom Locke said Jefferson County has 18 new COVID-19 cases this month: during the first week of June we had four cases; in the second week we had 14 cases; eight of them were over this past weekend. They are occurring in clusters of unvaccinated people. He reported that there were three hospitalizations: one was transferred out, one was discharged, and one is in the hospital as of today.

“There’s still plenty of COVID around that you can be exposed to … it’s mostly what is now known as the Alpha variant – the UK variant – which is considerably more infectious,” explained Locke. “If you’re exposed to it, you’re more likely to get it. And I think that risk is going to increase as Washington State moves away from its COVID restrictions, as there are more people in indoor spaces and not wearing masks. If you’re unvaccinated your risk will go up.” Dr. Locke reported that testing is becoming more available and home test kits are popular.

“We’re trying to change from this kind of emergency response mode that we’ve been in, into something that’s a lot more sustainable, long-term, and accessible to people,” Locke said. “The only place you can get tested is to come to Port Townsend.“ He said testing should be available everywhere around the county, through the use of the rapid testing technologies in clinics. Washington state has received hundreds of millions of dollars to support testing in schools. “That’s going to be a key way that we can bring schools back to full in person – testing and controlling transmission,” Locke said.

Another option is home testing using the BinaxNOW COVID-19 self test which is readily available, costs about $20 for two tests, and can be found online.

Director of Emergency Management WIllie Bence said on Wednesday, June 23 from 9:30am to 2pm, a pop-up clinic will be held at the Trial-Area Food Bank in Chimacum with both the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines. You don’t need to be receiving Food Bank services to receive a vaccination. Call 360-344-9791 for an appointment, however walk-ins are welcome.

County Public Health Report ~ 6/07

The following is a summary of the presentation made by Dr. Tom Locke, our local Public Health Officer and Willie Bence, Director, DEM, Jefferson County, during the Public Health briefings at this week’s Board of County Commissioners meeting. The summary was provided by and used with the permission of Jefferson County Government.

County Health Officer Dr. Tom Locke reported that Jefferson County has a 72.4% vaccination rate for those 16 and older. And Jefferson’s infection rate went up a small amount, 12.5 to 15.7 cases per 100,000 or five cases in the last two weeks. And that’s that’s among the lowest in the state.

Monetary incentives are being used to increase vaccination participation, and Washington State has instituted a campaign,“ Shot of a Lifetime.” Everyone who’s in the State Department of Health COVID vaccination registry has been entered into this lottery. The first drawing will be on Tuesday 6/8 for a $250,000 prize, and then there’ll be weekly drawings on June 15, 22, 29, and July 6. The $1 million drawing will be held on July, 13.

COVID variants are all getting new names. To help keep track: the UK variant is now considered the Alpha variant; the South African variant is now being called the Beta; the Brazilian variant is Gamma; the variant that arose in India is Delta, and the California variants are known as Epsilon. Dr. Locke said it’s mostly the Alpha variant that was first from the United Kingdom, and the Epsilon variants from California that are circulating in Washington.

Jefferson County QFC, Safeway and Tri-Area pharmacies are still offering the vaccine, as is Jefferson Healthcare Express Clinic located at the hospital. You don’t have to be a patient at the hospital to be vaccinated. You may also ask for immunization from your local healthcare provider.

Everyone still has to wear a mask indoors – regardless of vaccination status. The Jefferson County business community is experiencing an influx of visitors from out of the area who seem to be unaware of our local masking mandate. Some locals may be unaware or a bit resistant to continuing to mask locally. Jefferson County Public Health has developed signage and posters that reminds all of Dr. Locke’s masking directive. Look for them posted around the area.

Director of Emergency Management Willie Bence told the Commissioners that this week the Department of Emergency Management will partner with the state health department to provide vaccinations to homebound individuals.  The Department has also partnered with organizations that will provide a free ride to a clinic as well.  If you or someone you know needs these types of assistance, call 360-344-9791.

Submit your Public Health questions to Dr. Tom Locke 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.

Jefferson County May 2021 Case Numbers

This graph shows the monthly and cumulative number of COVID-19 infections reported in Jefferson County, from March 2020 through May 2021. Data source: Jefferson County Public Health Department website, graph created by KPTZ.

As of May 31, 2021 the total number of COVID-19 cases in Jefferson County was 416. This due to an increase of 26 cases in the past month, a significant reduction from 45 new cases last month. 

KPTZ’s Through Science to Health ~ 6/04

Through Science to Health co-hosts, KPTZ’s Chris Bricker and Lynn Sorensen, RN, brought back a guest to the program today. Jesse Maupin, MD, currently a Hospitalist at the University of Wisconsin at Madison Medical Center.
Jesse is a PTHS graduate and will be returning to the Northwest for a Fellowship at the University of Washington Medical Center this summer. Jesse spoke to his experience working in the hospital this past year with the stress of caring for COVID-19 patients compounded by the uncertainty of what was coming next, and an actual fear for his personal safety.

Note: June 18 will be the last edition of Through Science to Health for Lynn and Chris. Thanks to the high vaccination rates locally and nationally, the pandemic is waning and restrictions are being lifted.

County Public Health Report ~5/24

The following is a summary of the presentation made by Dr. Tom Locke, our local Public Health Officer and Willie Bence, Director, EOC, Jefferson County, during the Public Health briefings at this week’s Board of County Commissioners(BOCC) meeting.

Please note that the Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) will not be in session next Monday, May 31 due to the Memorial Day holiday. They will meet the following week on June 7 to provide the public health update from Dr. Tom Locke and Willie Bence at the usual time, 9:45am here at KPTZ.

Click here to read complete notes on today’s briefings

Submit your Public Health questions to Dr. Tom Locke 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.