Local modeling

Health worker: Modeling shows case rates expected to drop by mid-March

The North Olympic Peninsula health worker cited case modeling as she reiterated the March 11 date to lift the vaccination proof mandate for indoor dining.

Clallam and Jefferson county health officer Dr. Allison Berry said she plans to lift her mandate by then, or sooner if COVID-19 case rates drop to 200 per 100,000. residents for a period of two weeks.

The mandate has been in place since September 2 and requires customers to show their vaccination card in order to eat indoors at bars or restaurants in either county. Unvaccinated customers could dine out or order takeout.

The mandate led to a lawsuit, settled last week, when a group of restaurant owners said the mandate impacted their “economic freedom” and cost them revenue and customers.

“One of the salient points that they (the restorers) brought up is that for a lot of people a case threshold is really opaque. It’s hard to believe we’ll ever reach that threshold of cases,” Berry said Monday. “So for some of them, they felt like we were never going to achieve that, and it gave me the opportunity to really talk to them through the modeling that we have, which is say we expect to be below that threshold of cases by mid-March.”

Berry said the omicron variant continues to decline.

Clallam County’s case rate on Monday was 1,363 per 100,000, down nearly 240 cases from last week’s rate of 1,601 per 100,000.

As of Friday, Jefferson County’s case rate was 1,068 per 100,000. This county updates the case rate weekly.

Berry said when the mandate is lifted, it will likely be lifted in both counties.

“We are aiming to reach that threshold of 200 cases per 100,000, and we believe we will reach it by mid-March, so, in part to clarify local matters, we plan to lift the order on March 11” , Berry said.

“If we hit that threshold before that, we’ll lift that order sooner,” she added.

Berry said it’s possible Jefferson County’s mandate could be lifted sooner because numbers there are generally lower than Clallam’s.

However, the threshold for lifting a masking warrant will be lower, Berry said.

“The main reason is that masking is something we can all do. It has no negative effect on the economy, and we want to be careful not to cause an unnecessary significant wave (COVID) by revoking masking too soon,” Berry said.

Jefferson County added 42 more cases over the weekend, bringing its total to 2,753.

Clallam County crossed the 10,000 case threshold by adding 135 over the weekend for a total of 10,059 cases since the start of the pandemic.

Sixteen Clallam County residents were hospitalized with the virus Monday 12 at Olympic Medical Center in Port Angeles, including five in the intensive care unit. Four additional patients were in intensive care units at other hospitals.

On Monday, three Jefferson County residents were hospitalized with COVID-19, two at Jefferson Healthcare in Port Townsend — one in intensive care — and the third in intensive care at another area hospital.

During her briefing with Jefferson County Council commissioners, Berry was asked Monday how the medical community would treat unvaccinated patients in the future, if another variant of COVID-19 arrives and puts additional pressure. on the health system.

“The idea of ​​denial of services for people who have chosen not to be vaccinated is an idea that has come up in ethical discussions about the use of hospitals, but it is an idea that we have all decided on in as a medical community we’re not going to do that,” Berry said.

“What looks like a personal choice really isn’t; it affects the people around you,” she continued. “So when our hospital system is overwhelmed with people being treated for COVID who are mostly unvaccinated, it affects the people around you, it affects their access to care.

“What we do in the healthcare system is, generally, when it comes to limiting care, and there’s not enough care and we have to decide who gets it, we make those decisions on who is most likely to survive.”

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Journalist Ken Park can be reached at [email protected]