Healthcare Providers

This page last updated at 9:50 a.m. on Sunday, March 22, 2020.

For more general information, see our Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) page.

Provider Alerts

See links below on most recent guidance for healthcare providers from the Whatcom County Health Department

Provider Health Alert COVID-19 UpdateMarch 28, 2020
Provider Health Alert COVID-19 UpdateMarch 22, 2020
Provider Health Alert COVID-19 Update
March 17, 2020
Provider Health Alert COVID-19 UpdateMarch 7, 2020

COVID-19 Surveillance and Reporting

  • All lab-confirmed COVID-19 infections are reported to the Washington Disease Reporting System whether tested through public health or commercial labs. Whatcom County Health Department then receives and reports the test results.

  • We ask that you notify us of patients being tested who are hospitalized or have contact with a confirmed case, and not wait for the lab confirmation. 

  • You can leave us a non-urgent confidential report on our 24-hour Communicable Disease Report Line, 360-778-6150. 

  • If DOH issues more specific notification criteria and requirements, we will update our guidance.

Provider consultation with Whatcom County Health Department Communicable Disease staff is available at (360) 778-6100 during hours of 8:30 am-4:30 pm. For consultation after hours, call (360) 778-6100 and follow directions to connect with the Health Department’s Answering Service.

Testing Recommendations

  • COVID-19 Testing Information for Healthcare Providers

  • Healthcare providers may test any patient with symptoms consistent with COVID-19 (e.g., fever, cough, shortness of breath).

  • There are currently no restrictions on who can be tested for COVID-19 and commercial testing is becoming widely available. 

  • COVID-19 Testing is recommended for:

    • Those who are hospitalized with severe lower respiratory illness.

    • Those most likely to have been infected (close contacts of confirmed cases).

    • Those who work in critical occupations or who could transmit tho those most at risk of complications (healthcare and public safety workers). 

    • Those who work in critical infrastructure occupations (grocery stores, pharmacies, public utilities, etc.)

    • Those who live or work in congregate settings (long-term care facilities, shelters)

Testing Options

Testing capacity remains very limited in our region.

  • Generally, the Whatcom County Health Department is recommending that healthcare providers send COVID-19 specimens to the University of Washington Virology Lab or other commercial labs. 

  • The Washington State Public Health Laboratories will accept specimens meeting specific criteria directly from clinicians as outlined in this document

  • If you are unable to test a patient, please call the Whatcom County Health Department at 360-671-6100 to discuss options for referring and to see if the patient meets our priorities. Do not send patients directly to the Health Department without calling first.

Infection Control