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County Public Health Report ~ 6/14

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The following is a summary of the presentation made by Dr. Tom Locke, our local Public Health Officer and Willie Bence, Director, DEM, Jefferson County, during the Public Health briefings at this week’s Board of County Commissioners meeting. The summary was provided by and used with the permission of Jefferson County Government.

County Health Officer Dr. Tom Locke said Jefferson County has 18 new COVID-19 cases this month: during the first week of June we had four cases; in the second week we had 14 cases; eight of them were over this past weekend. They are occurring in clusters of unvaccinated people. He reported that there were three hospitalizations: one was transferred out, one was discharged, and one is in the hospital as of today.

“There’s still plenty of COVID around that you can be exposed to … it’s mostly what is now known as the Alpha variant – the UK variant – which is considerably more infectious,” explained Locke. “If you’re exposed to it, you’re more likely to get it. And I think that risk is going to increase as Washington State moves away from its COVID restrictions, as there are more people in indoor spaces and not wearing masks. If you’re unvaccinated your risk will go up.” Dr. Locke reported that testing is becoming more available and home test kits are popular.

“We’re trying to change from this kind of emergency response mode that we’ve been in, into something that’s a lot more sustainable, long-term, and accessible to people,” Locke said. “The only place you can get tested is to come to Port Townsend.“ He said testing should be available everywhere around the county, through the use of the rapid testing technologies in clinics. Washington state has received hundreds of millions of dollars to support testing in schools. “That’s going to be a key way that we can bring schools back to full in person – testing and controlling transmission,” Locke said.

Another option is home testing using the BinaxNOW COVID-19 self test which is readily available, costs about $20 for two tests, and can be found online.

Director of Emergency Management WIllie Bence said on Wednesday, June 23 from 9:30am to 2pm, a pop-up clinic will be held at the Trial-Area Food Bank in Chimacum with both the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines. You don’t need to be receiving Food Bank services to receive a vaccination. Call 360-344-9791 for an appointment, however walk-ins are welcome.