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 Jim Burke, producer of KPTZ’s Tuesday’s Local News.
The Jefferson County Board of County Commissioners Meeting took place yesterday, and Dr. Tom Locke, who was in for Dr. Allison Berry, and Willie Bence, Director of Emergency Management spoke to the commissioners during the Public Health Briefing. This was the final weekly briefing in October, and for the foreseeable future. The 31st is the fifth Monday of the month, so the Board isn’t meeting, and then the Public Health Briefings are going to go to one per month, on the third Monday of the month. So the next Public Health Briefing should be November 21.
In Jefferson County, the two-week COVID-19 case rate is 240 per hundred thousand, lower than last week, but still in the high category. Two people are currently hospitalized. 36 new cases were added this week for a total of 6,110 cases. No additional death was reported this week in Jefferson County. The total count of COVID-19-related deaths stands at 32.
In Clallam County, the dashboard on the website has not been updated since last week so the two-week COVID-19 case rate is 136 per hundred thousand. There are 38 new cases this week for a total of 15,735 cases since the pandemic began. One person is hospitalized at this time. The total count of COVID-19-related deaths is now at 125.
Dr. Locke said we are doing okay now, but this lull we are experiencing locally will likely give way to another surge. He used the analogy of a three act play to describe the pandemic: He said “We are still in Act II, “and the beginning of Act III will reveal how prepared we are for the end of the pandemic.” The South and the eastern US are starting to see a rise in Flu cases early; European countries and Singapore are seeing another surge in COVID-19 cases, and here in the US there is a rise of respiratory syncytial virus, or RSV, a common respiratory virus that usually causes mild, cold-like symptoms. Most people recover in a week or two, but RSV can be serious, especially for infants and older adults. Many Children’s hospitals east of here are stretched to capacity with very young children hospitalized with RSV. These increases in Flu and RSV cases are not surprising, Dr. Locke said. After two years of mask wearing and quarantine there is not an abundance of community immunity to fend off these infections. The best course of action, he said, is to get the flu shot, get the COVID-19 bivalent booster before the holidays. Wear a mask in indoor settings and increase ventilation wherever possible in indoor settings. Avoid large gatherings.
The next two COVID-19 mutations of concern are probably coming our way in the next month to six weeks, and they are both immunity avoidant, that is they can get by even our double and triple boosted immunity, but having the vaccines, and even being exposed to COVID-19 in the community can help keep those cases mild and out of the hospital.
Willie Bence said 100 slots were reserved in a covalent booster clinic held this past Saturday, which was to be for children 5 to 17 years of age, but they opened it to all. An additional 60 people waited in line to receive their Covalent booster at Blue Heron School in Port Townsend. The covalent MNRA booster shot as well as the Novovax shot and booster are available at your local pharmacy. The Novovax booster is still based on the original virus, but is available to those who wouldn’t or couldn’t get the MRNA vaccine.
There is a mobile Vaccination & Booster Clinic (Moderna, Pfizer, Novavax) for anyone 6 months or older this coming Sunday, October 30 from 1-4pm at Quimper Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, 2333 San Juan Avenue in Port Townsend.
Homebound? Receive a home visit for a COVID-19 vaccination by leaving a message at 360-344-9791.
Interested in receiving the Novavax COVID-19 Vaccine?
Submit your Public Health questions to Dr. Allison Berry and to Willie Bence by emailing email@example.com. Note: The deadline for these to be submitted is on Friday, November 18 at noon, to be answered at the following Monday’s BOCC meeting.