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 Kate Dean gave an informal report. The summary below was provided by and used with the permission of Jefferson County Government.
Health Officer Dr. Allison Berry this morning said she expects the threshold of 200 COVID-19 cases/100,000 to be below that in Jefferson County on or before March 11 and that could impact the vaccine requirements for indoor dining in restaurants.“Most likely, we’re gonna plan on revoking the order for both counties (Jefferson and Clallam) around that same time,” Dr. Berry explained. “I think it’s helpful for our business owners to have some clarity around how long this order is going to last so they can plan their business operations….I wouldn’t revoke the order if I didn’t think it was safe to do so,” she said. Dr. Berry noted that if cases are moving down faster, she would consider revoking it sooner. She warned, however, that if hospitals are overwhelmed with cases and that modeling from the University of Washington is wrong, she would not revoke the order. Restaurants could choose, for their own safety and that of their staff and clients, to continue the vaccine requirement.
Dr. Berry’s report to Commissioners provided an update as to the latest COVID-19 reports: In Washington, cases are down 37%. The large cities feeling the most rapid decline are those in King and Snohomish counties. “The Olympic Peninsula is starting to plateau,” Dr. Berry said. ”We’re hopeful that this is the beginning of the decrease in cases that we anticipate….The good news that we’re seeing is, for those who are fully vaccinated, we are seeing rates of hospitalization and death that are similar to the flu. So we have finally reached that point that so many folks have talked about since the very beginning.” Jefferson County has 2,753 cases with a case rate of 1,069/100,000. Clallam County has 1,601/100,000, and Kitsap County is 1,700/100,000. She reported that the COVID-19 outlook is improving all across the county. Hospitalizations are decreasing around 27%, but deaths are still at the 2,500 mark daily.
Dr. Berry provided a short primer on masks: N95 masks should have a NIOSH approval stamped on it. Another option is the KF94 which is a South Korean version of the KN95. KN95 masks should be stamped with GB 2626–2006 or 2626-2019. She said if none of those fit you well or feel good, she suggests a surgical mask with a cloth mask over it to make it fit tight to your face.
Monday’s Report from Emergency Management: About 15,000 masks have been distributed throughout Jefferson County, with an estimated 5,000 arriving each week. Currently, they are available at both QFC stores and Safeway. The County Library has a supply, and the Port Townsend Library will get some this week. The Food Banks also have been stocked. And the NPREP groups received 4,500 masks for distribution in neighborhoods this past weekend.
Vaccination clinics will be held on February 12 in Brinnon: 1:30-3:30pm – Pfizer for ages 5-11 and 12+ and Moderna boosters for adults. February 19 in Chimacum: 9-11am – Pfizer for ages 5-11 and 12 + and Moderna boosters for adults. For an appointment call 360-344-9791 and leave a message. Your call will be returned within 24 hours. Or register at the Public Health website
Submit your Public Health questions to Dr. Allison Berry and 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.