Until last week, most of the seven COVID-19 deaths in Clallam and Jefferson counties were in the 80’s, the age group at the highest risk of contracting the virus.
That changed with the reported death Friday of a Clallam County man in his 50s.
He contracted the virus while leaving the condition prior to his death at his home. Allison Berry, a Clallam County health worker, said at her usual Friday briefing.
As Clallam remains the most vaccinated county in the state and is “moderate” for viral infection, Berry said his passing signal that residents of the Northern Olympic Peninsula should be vigilant with wearing masks. Continue in public places and follow safety measures.
“It̵7;s an important reminder that COVID-19 is alive and well and continues to circulate, especially outside our community, although we do have some,” Berry said.
“It’s a serious reminder of how serious the infection can be, even for younger people.”
One month of deaths were reported from the virus on the peninsula.
A woman in the 90s and a woman in the ’80s died in Jefferson County in November and December.
Three women in the ’80s, women in their 70s and men in their’ 80s have died in Clallam County since August.
Like most of the men who reported Friday deaths had health conditions or age as a factor.
Clallam County, which passed the 1,000-case mark in the final week of February, was 1,012 on Saturday, Berry said in a message.
That’s the 0ne increase reported by the case since Friday.
Jefferson County had 336 cases as of Saturday, said Dr. Tom Lock, a county health worker.
“This is another week when COVID-19 is very low,” he said.
Thirty percent of Clallam County residents had received at least one dose of two doses of the vaccine, and 18 percent had received the full vaccine as of Friday, Berry said the vaccination bay at Port Angeles High School was full on Saturday. But it’s available on Friday for Sunday.
23 percent of Jefferson County residents received at least one dose and 16 percent for both sizes, Locke said Saturday.
Locke is driving to Chimacum to prepare for a number of vaccination activities in late March, where the two counties are expected to enter a broader phase 1B2 vaccination phase.
Clallam and Jefferson are in Category 1B1 now.
Vaccination is permitted for residents 65 and older and 50 or older, who live in multi-generational households, or caregivers, relatives, or older children.
Added last week among eligible groups were educators and staff, pre-kindergarten through grade 12, and all childcare providers, regardless of age.
“We have enough vaccines and vaccines to get a whole group of vaccines in our community within the next two weeks,” Berry said.
Clallam County residents register at vaccine.clallam.net/register.
Jefferson County residents register at https://jeffersonhealthcare.org/covid-19-vaccine
Stage 1B2, commencing on March 22, will open vaccination doors to critical infrastructure workers in assembly areas such as groceries, food banks, transport agencies, correctional facilities and the agriculture and food processing industries.
“There is no more age reduction in that group,” Berry said. “We’ll have a slot for you.”
Pregnant women older than 16 are eligible to receive the vaccine in Group 1B2.
“We know pregnancy puts you at risk of serious COVID-19 infection,” Berry said.
They also have a disability prone to contracting the virus.
“This group is especially targeted at people with developmental disabilities, for some people who can’t actually wear a face mask, and such as people with Down’s syndrome, where they are at higher risk of getting COVID- 19 ”
When the district reaches stage 1B2, district health officials will make direct contact with certain populations, prioritizing inmates and staff at the Clallam Bay Correctional Center, which the state Department of Corrections said as of Friday had no cases reported. COVID-19
“We are going to be doing a pretty big expansion, especially for farm workers in the West End, to make sure they have easy access to that,” Berry said.
Clallam County will receive 400 doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine next week, Berry said.
A pre-dose may be administered for residents less likely to receive a second dose, such as those in an unstable residential situation.
It won’t be included in many vaccination efforts, “but it can happen down the road,” Berry said.
Jefferson County will receive 500 doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, which will be given to everyone who is eligible, Locke said.
Washington State received the J&J vaccine. 65,000-66,000 Dosages, which had to last until the end of March or early April, he said.
“Then it will start to appear in large volumes,” Locke predicts that by the end of June there will be 100 million doses.
As early as the end of May, anyone who wants to get vaccinated will be able to get vaccinated, he predicted.
But no one knows if enough people can get vaccinated to build herd immunity, Locke said.
“We need 70 to 80 percent of people to be vaccinated for the epidemic to end.”
He said vaccinating people 15 and older and the impact of the COVID-19 virus remains an open question.
He urged vaccinated people to continue wearing masks because they can still transmit the virus and show no symptoms.
He predicts that the end of autumn or summer will be the fastest that people can stop wearing masks.
But the emerging COVID-10 virus “could make the process much more complicated,” he said, and another shot could be added to the vaccination regimen.
“Maybe we need to develop a vaccine specific to different strains,” Locke said.
Senior Staff Writer Paul Gottlieb can be reached at 360-452-2345 ext. 55650 or at [email protected]