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.
During her Monday briefing to Commissioners, County Health Officer Dr. Allison Berry said Jefferson has the second lowest COVID-19 rate in the state, although it is still quite high. Our current case rate is 226 per 100,000, second only to San Juan County. No one is currently a patient at Jefferson Healthcare with COVID-19. She reported that most of our household cases in the last few days have been from known positive cases. “We are not seeing widespread community transmission like we’ve seen in earlier days. However, we are seeing folks get COVID-19 from traveling, and then through household contacts here.”
Dr. Berry said there was a cluster related to the Brinnon school district, with a total of 16 cases, nine of which were traced to school; primarily the risk factor was bussing. She reported that all of these kids are doing well. There were three adults affected, and they, too, are all doing well. “The kids have to travel a very long distance on those buses and they were not eligible for vaccination. The schools are doing a really good job and we have not seen additional cases from that and we have not seen any other cases in any of our other school districts. But, I think this does highlight that our unvaccinated kids are at risk of contracting COVID-19.”
She said you are nine times more likely to get COVID-19 if you are unvaccinated, and then you are up to 26 times more likely to get hospitalized if you are unvaccinated. It really does make a difference to reduce transmission in our community, and to reduce subsequent strain on our hospital system.
Dr. Berry said that there have not been any positive cases of Influenza on the Olympic Peninsula, and there’s very, very low level activity in Washington. She said now is a really good time to get your flu shot before the flu gets here, “so that we can prevent a significant surge of flu, as well as COVID-19.” She recommends a flu vaccine for nearly everyone six months and older.
Director of Emergency Management Willie Bence said the Pfizer booster clinic at Chimacum on Saturday was a success, with 635 people receiving the vaccine. Next Saturday, the clinic at Blue Heron Middle School is scheduled to handle 600 people, but Bence said there is a waiting list of 150 and those people may be accommodated and will be contacted if a decision is made to do so. The vaccination clinic in Quilcene on October 23 has plenty of appointments still available. Sign up for these appointments through the Public Health website or the call center (360- 344-9791). These appointments are for the Pfizer vaccine only. Information on the Moderna and J&J boosters will be coming in the next week.
If you lost your original vaccine card, it cannot be replaced. The best way to get your vaccine records reissued is through: https://wa.myir.net. This is acceptable documentation to allow you to get into restaurants and bars when they ask for proof of identification. It is also helpful at vaccination clinics to certify that you got the vaccine and are eligible for your COVID-19 booster. You can download to your phone or print out a copy and bring it to the clinic.
Submit your Public Health questions to Dr. Allison Berry and to Willie Bence by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Note: The weekly deadline for these to be submitted is on Fridays at noon, to be answered at the following Monday’s BOCC meeting.