County Public Health Report ~ 12/19/22

The following is a recording 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. The summary below was provided by Jim Burke, producer of KPTZ’s Tuesday’s Local News.

In Jefferson County, the two-week COVID-19 case rate last week was 451 but is now 398 per 100,000 people. Two people are currently hospitalized. 73 new cases were added this week for a total of 6,536 cases. Dr. Berry said three viruses are still challenging our community, that nationally COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations are on the rise, and 400 people are dying from COVID-19 every day across the U.S. Statewide, there is also a rise in cases, but she said in Jefferson County case rates are relatively flat. In Clallam County there IS a rise with 6 people currently hospitalized with COVID-19.

Influenza is being reported at a 33% rate in testing, which is high, and there is a high presentation of cases in hospitals and clinics, but she says they might be seeing a plateau in flu cases. 40 people have died due to influenza in Washington State this season.

In terms of RSV (respiratory syncytial virus), Dr. Berry said we are seeing a plateau and even a drop in RSV cases in the central Puget Sound. This is freeing up some pediatric bed space in the major hospitals there, which is making it possible to transfer more severely ill young patients to children’s hospitals in the I-5 corridor. She feels we could see a downtrend on all three viruses soon, but she said, “It all depends on US!”

“The biggest thing for all three of these is to wear a mask indoors. It does reduce transmission of Covid, RSV, and flu. For flu and Covid, there are highly effective vaccines available that can reduce your likelihood of getting infected with the virus and spreading it to others, and dramatically reduce your risk of getting severely ill. The COVID-19 bivalent boosters are available to anyone 6 months and up, so if it’s been more than 2 months since your kiddoes got their vaccines, we recommend moving forward with the bivalent booster. Flu vaccines are also available for anyone 6 months and older. And last, but not least, staying home when you are sick is really critical.”