A Jefferson County man who was reported dead of the COVID-19 virus on Thursday illustrates the need for booster shots, according to the Northern Olympic Peninsula health officer.
The man, who was in his 70s, had underlying health conditions and was vaccinated but had not received a booster shot, according to Dr. Allison Berry, health officer for Clallam and Jefferson counties.
“Unfortunately, his passing is a stark reminder that people, especially older people and people in a high-risk category, really need to get that booster,” Berry said.
The man was one of two residents of Jefferson County who had been in an intensive care unit (ICU) due to COVID-19. As of Thursday, three Jefferson County residents were reported to be hospitalized. One was at Jefferson Healthcare in Port Townsend on the intensive care unit. The other two were in hospitals outside the county.
The death, which was reported Thursday, brings the number of deaths attributed to the Jefferson County virus since the pandemic began to 28.
Clallam County reported no new deaths Thursday. The county’s death toll from the virus since the pandemic began remained at 102.
Seven residents of Clallam County were reported hospitalized with COVID-19 on Thursday. Six of the seven were in the intensive care unit, three at the Olympic Medical Center (OMC) in Port Angeles and three more at hospitals outside the county. One was in standard care at OMC.
The Ministry of Health, which has updated its website https://doh.wa.gov/emergencies/ covid-19 / data-dashboard to include booster data, broken down by county, gender, age and race, the number who have received booster injections with vaccine and those who are eligible for a booster.
According to the state dashboard, 69 percent of Clallam County residents are fully vaccinated – meaning they have received all three vaccine shots – and 76 percent of Jefferson County residents are fully vaccinated.
As of February 28, more than 2.6 million residents of Washington had received booster doses. State health authorities are urging everyone over 12 to get booster shots, especially those who are immunocompromised.
“COVID-19 vaccines offer strong protection against serious illness, hospitalization and death, and booster shots extend that protection,” said Dr. Tao Sheng Kwan-Gett, chief science officer of the State Ministry of Health.
Both counties added only six new COVID cases Thursday. Clallam County’s cases since the pandemic began rose from the 10,781 reported on Wednesday to 10,787 on Thursday. Jefferson County’s cases since the pandemic began rose from the 3,082 reported Wednesday to 3,088 Thursday.
Clallam County’s case rate dropped to 341 per. 100,000 residents Thursday, Jefferson County’s case rate, reported weekly, will be updated later today, but currently stands at 525 per capita. 100,000.
Case rates reflect cases reported over a period of two weeks. They are calculated using a formula based on 100,000 inhabitants for counties that do not have 100,000 people living in them.
Jefferson County on Thursday reported 72 people in isolation with active cases.
Clallam County does not report this metric, but reports a daily average over a two-week period.
On its COVID-19 dashboard, Clallam County said Thursday that the average daily number of cases from Feb. 15 to Feb. 28 was 19, down from 22 reported Wednesday.
Berry expects that case rates will fall to the level of 200 cases per year. 100,000 inhabitants before March 11 – next Friday. It is the date set for the repeal of the proof-of-vaccination mandate for those who want to eat and drink indoors at restaurants and bars.
“It’s very likely we’ll reach that threshold (in case of rates) next week,” Berry said.
Reporter Ken Park can be reached at [email protected].