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. The summary below was provided by and used with the permission of Jefferson County Government.
Public Health Officer Dr. Allison Berry Monday updated the Commissioners on COVID-19 saying that there is a winter surge occurring, with cases up 50% over one month ago. Nationally, 100,000 people are diagnosed each day and 1,200 people die every day. Washington is bucking that trend. Dr. Berry said the number of cases is not rising due to the sheer number of people who are vaccinated. In Jefferson, we have had a total of 1,324 cases reported, with 214 per 100,000 – a 5% positivity rate. There has not been a large outbreak from Thanksgiving gatherings. However, there are clusters of small children who have been infected. Contact tracing is underway in the schools.
Dr. Berry said the biggest health news of the week is the rise of the Omicron variant. It has been detected in Washington state, not yet in Jefferson, but it is in King County. She said we are following King County by two weeks so she feels it is likely to be here soon. “We don’t know about the severity of this variant,” Dr. Berry said. She said public health officials are seeing early indications of reinfections, especially if your only immunity comes from prior infections. Omicron seems to be taking hold in under-vaccinated communities and is more transmissible than the Delta variant. She encouraged all to get their booster now before the holiday surge and winter season.
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.