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Berry: It feels like the dam is breaking

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The present COVID-19 an infection charges on the North Olympic Peninsula are mirroring the surge seen throughout the 2020 Thanksgiving vacation season, and officers are struggling to maintain up with contact tracing.

“At this point, it feels like the dam is breaking,” mentioned Dr. Allison Berry, health officer for Jefferson and Clallam counties.

Due to the excessive stage of instances, native contract tracers should depend on assist from the state, Berry mentioned.

“We have numerous outbreaks throughout the county, in workplace settings primarily at this point, so it’s not just travel related anymore,” she mentioned.

“It’s straining our public health system at this level.

“We don’t have adequate contact tracing capacity for all the cases that are coming in,” she continued.

“We’re prioritizing cases that are a high risk — cases in health care settings, cases in congregate settings — and the rest of the cases are being sent to the state,” she continued.

“We are reaching the limit of contract tracing’s ability to control infection.”

Clallam County confirmed 15 new instances of COVID-19 Thursday, whereas Jefferson County added 9 new instances, in keeping with county public health information.

Clallam County’s case charge rose to 209 instances per 100,000 inhabitants for the final two weeks as of Thursday. That approaches the highest case charge the county has seen — 216 instances per 100,000 — which was recorded in November, Berry mentioned.

Jefferson County has reached 147.34 instances per 100,000 for the two weeks prior as of Saturday, the second highest case charge it has reported since the pandemic started, Berry mentioned.

Jefferson County’s highest case charge of 156 per 100,000 was additionally recorded final November throughout the vacation season surge, Berry mentioned.

Community mitigation measures similar to masks sporting, limiting indoor interactions and social distancing are wanted along with contact tracing to gradual the unfold of the novel coronavirus, Berry mentioned.

“We’re going to keep fighting it,” Berry mentioned. “We’re not giving up. Certainly our staff are frantically contact tracing as we speak, but we’re reaching the limit of our ability.”

There are at present discussions amongst the state and the health officers about what different mitigation measures they could impose, however no plans have been made but, Berry mentioned.

The majority of recent infections are amongst unvaccinated residents, with about 8 p.c of instances since mid-January being breakthrough instances in Clallam County and 6 p.c being breakthroughs in Jefferson, Berry mentioned.

A breakthrough case is an infection with COVID-19 in a person who has had a last dose of vaccine greater than weeks earlier.

Berry has been urging all residents 12 and older who usually are not but vaccinated in opposition to COVID-19 and might be, to get vaccinated as quickly as doable.

Data compiled by the state Department of Health exhibits that in Jefferson County, 75.1 p.c of residents 12 and older have initiated vaccinations, 71.9 p.c are totally vaccinated, and 69.1 p.c of the complete inhabitants has started vaccinations, and 66.2 p.c are totally vaccinated, in keeping with the state’s dashboard.

Clallam County has vaccinated 65.3 p.c of residents 12 and older with not less than one dose, with 60.8 p.c totally vaccinated, whereas 58 p.c of the complete inhabitants has begun vaccinations with 54 p.c totally vaccinated, in keeping with the state’s dashboard.

2021 has already greater than doubled 2020 for extra instances of COVID-19 being confirmed in each counties, with Clallam County having 1,759 complete COVID-19 instances since the start of the pandemic, and on Jan. 1, the complete variety of instances was 756, Berry mentioned.

Jefferson County has a complete of 534 instances as of Thursday, after beginning the 12 months at 229 confirmed instances, Berry mentioned.

“Things getting quite serious quite quickly,” Berry mentioned. “We’re actually going to want the entire neighborhood to return collectively to get this underneath management.

“We can do it. We’ve done it before, but we’re going to need the community to take this seriously.”

Seventeen folks have died from COVID-19 in Clallam County and 4 have died in Jefferson County.


Jefferson County reporter Zach Jablonski might be reached at 360-385-2335, ext. 5, or at [email protected]

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