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Olympic Peninsula Health Officers Discuss COVID Testing at Other Schools in the State

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Some school districts in the state use rapid tests to perform random COVID-19 tests on students and staff, but school districts on the Northern Olympic Peninsula have not started.

Local health officials say that rapid testing does not detect asymptomatic cases or standard polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests performed in the laboratory, and there is not enough data to prove that the measurements are useful. Therefore, I feel that the reliability of the inspection is low. It’s not.

“This is an interesting concept,” said Dr. Allison Berry, a Clallam County health officer. “I understand why people want it.

“The challenge is that we don’t really have the data that makes a difference in school safety, so we’re not really adopting it here. I think it tends to be an intervention that makes people feel better. But not everyone is safe. ”

Dr. Tom Locke, Health Officer of Jefferson County, agrees with Berry that the district’s precautions, such as symptom screening, temperature checks, and wearing the necessary masks, are effective, and random tests are effective in low-lying areas. He said it wasn’t right. Prevalence of illness.

“It’s a kind of experimental protocol,” Locke said. “I think what we’ve done in Jefferson County has been quite successful.

“I don’t recommend it at this time. If the school wants to do it here, we won’t get in the way of them, but given the fact that what we’ve done today is successful, now But I don’t think it’s a useful tool for us. It hasn’t happened in school yet. “

According to Locke, the school also has a protocol for assessing and testing if someone is symptomatological.

The state has recently expanded the number of school districts that have the option of conducting exams.

Locke explains that this test is known as a “surveillance test” and is a rapid test to capture asymptomatic cases because 20-40% of people infected with COVID-19 are asymptomatic. We are choosing random students and staff to receive. ..

According to Locke, the problem with rapid testing is that it is not as accurate as standard PCR testing.

Both counties are planning and working on a variety of vaccination efforts, even though vaccine levels remain a limiting factor.

As of Wednesday, Clallam County will be vaccinated with Moderna 1,500 times next week, Berry said. Jefferson Healthcare will not receive information until Friday about whether to receive more Pfizer vaccine on the first dose, Locke said.

The same vaccine is included in shots that are considered first dose and shots that are called double doses. The difference is that the state guarantees the person with the first shot a second dose, so it will be tracked.

Locke wants the hospital to receive another delivery. This week was the first week after no initial dose for more than a month.

“Without the first-dose vaccine, the system is really out of order, because the smallest vaccine Jefferson County should receive is to go to a pharmacy and hospital,” Locke said.

“Less than that means it’s a musical chair system. [the state] It just keeps shifting in unpredictable patterns. ”

On Wednesday, Clallam County confirmed six new cases of COVID-19 and Jefferson County confirmed two new cases, according to county public health data.

Berry said three of the new cases in Claram were contacts of previously confirmed cases, one was associated with an outbreak outside the county and two were still under investigation on Wednesday. ..

According to Berry, the Clallam County test positive rate (the percentage of tests returned positive) was 1.3% from January 31st to February 14th.

The test positive rate for Jefferson County was 3.42 percent from February 1st to 7th.

So far this month, Clallam County has identified 46 COVID-19 cases, about 4.68 percent of the 982 cases confirmed since March last year, according to Clallam County Public Health Data.

According to Jefferson County Public Health Data, Jefferson County has identified 26 COVID-19s, or about 7.88 percent of the 330 identified since March last year.

As of Tuesday, 22 COVID-19 cases were active in Clallam County. There were seven active incidents in Jefferson County.

Both counties are in the medium-risk category of the state, with a case rate of 54 per 100,000 in the last two weeks of Wednesday in Clallam County and 65.83 per 100,000 in the two weeks prior to Saturday in Jefferson County.

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Jefferson County Reporter Zack Jabronski can be reached by extension 360-385-2335. 5, or at [email protected]..


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