February, 11, 2022
Contact: Bonnie Obremski, COVID-19 Communications Specialist for Jefferson County Public Health: email@example.com
Spanish Translation of Press Release
JEFFERSON COUNTY—On Friday, March 11, Dr. Allison Berry, Jefferson County Health Officer, plans to rescind the Jefferson County Public Health Order for restaurants and bars in light of the rapidly declining COVID-19 case rates.
“On behalf of the thousands of people vulnerable to severe illness or death from COVID-19 in our community, thank you to the business owners who helped protect the wellbeing of individuals and our healthcare systems during this latest pandemic surge,” Dr. Berry said.
The public health order requiring mask wearing in indoor, public places will remain in place for the time being.
Dr. Berry said the data shows public health’s strategy of layered precautions has resulted in a notably low death rate.
People age 65 and older represent 37.9% of the Jefferson County population (statewide, they represent 15.9%). That means a high percentage of people in the county are generally at higher risk for hospitalization and death from COVID-19. In spite of this, the death rate in the county has remained low in comparison with state and nationwide COVID-19 death rates. Nationwide, the death rate from COVID-19 is 256 deaths per 100,000 population, or one in every 400 Americans. In Washington State, the death rate is half that at 133 per 100,000. In Jefferson County, the death rate is half that again at 72 per 100,000.
If county case rates fall and stay below 200 cases per 100,000 prior to March 11, Dr. Berry will consider rescinding the order earlier. Currently, the two-week case rate is 742.47 per 100,000. The peak case rate occurred at the new year at 1,460.08. The last time case rates were below 200 was the end of November.
Business owners who want to retain a vaccination policy may do so, Dr. Berry said.
“As we move closer to the date when this order will be revoked, it is critically important to ensure that food service workers are as safe as possible,” she added.
Safety precautions, she said, include getting vaccinated and boosted and providing access to high quality masks like KN95s, KF94s or N95s. Free N95 masks are available at several locations throughout the county by request, including at the Jefferson County Public Health office beside QFC supermarket in Port Townsend. There is a 3-mask limit per person. Masks are reusable.
“We have come so far and accomplished so much in our fight against COVID-19 as a community,” Dr. Berry said. “We are not yet at the point where the COVID-19 pandemic is behind us, but that day is approaching. We can all make sure that day comes sooner rather than later by getting vaccinated and boosted, by wearing our masks, and by following the existing public health orders.”