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, along with Dr. Tom Locke, who has stepped back to serve as Deputy Public Health Office. Also Willie Bence, Director, Director of Emergency Management, gave a report. The summary was provided by and used with the permission of Jefferson County Government.
On Monday, Jefferson County Health Officer Dr. Allison Berry told the Commissioners and KPTZ listeners there is a significant rise in COVID-19 cases in Washington State. Cases are up 133% and hospitalizations are up by 10%.
Because of this uptick in cases, Berry recommended a return to masking, regardless of vaccination status. “Any place where you are going to be spending time around people and you don’t know their vaccine status, we recommend masking up.” She mentioned the office, grocery stores, movie theaters, and churches as examples. “This (uptick) is really driven by the Delta variant,” Berry said. “We have not seen Delta variants or at least not diagnosed yet locally, but we certainly anticipate that it’s likely here and just hasn’t been caught yet.”
Jefferson County is up to 493 cases, or 72 per 100,000. Berry reported the newest cases are being driven by unvaccinated people in Jefferson County, mostly gathering indoors, at social gatherings, and traveling. Jefferson has a 66% fully-vaccinated rate; with those who are 12 and older, the rate climbs to 71%. Vaccinations are available at Jefferson Health Care and the Safeway, QFC, and Tri-Area Pharmacies. “The key message I want folks to know is that we’re seeing a dramatic rise in cases. If you haven’t gotten vaccinated yet, now is really the time to do it,” Berry said.
Emergency Management Director Willie Bence addressed the possibility of wildfire smoke coming to Jefferson County. Bence said while we haven’t had any smoke yet this year, fires are growing across the Pacific Northwest. “People should consider how to protect themselves from smoke if it does come here,” he said. You can check on the air quality by going to https://wasmoke.blogspot.com/. Another good website to get wildfire information is https://www.dnr.wa.gov/Wildfires.
Submit your Public Health questions to Dr. Allison Berry by emailing email@example.com. Note: The weekly deadline for these to be submitted is on Fridays at noon, to be answered at the following Monday’s BOCC meeting.