COVID-19 FAQs

Page updated: Monday, June 29 at 2:00 p.m.  

Reopening Whatcom County

What does it mean to be in Phase 2?

On May 29, Governor Inslee announced that the Stay Home, Stay Healthy order would be replaced with a Safe Start, Stay Healthy plan for county-by-county phased reopening.  Under this new plan, Whatcom County was approved to enter Phase 2 on June 5. Reopening is a dialing back of restrictions that gives individuals and businesses time to adjust and make sure we can all stay safe. For more information on what moving into Phase 2 means, read our June 5 news flash.

What is the “Safe Start” plan?

“Safe Start” is Washington’s four phase reopening plan for Washington. Businesses, non-profit workers, and employees with questions can visit our Resources for Businesses and Organizations page or submit an inquiry to the state’s Business Response Center.

As we reopen Whatcom County it’s important to remember:

  • It’s still safest to stay home.
  • When leaving home, physical distancing of at least six feet is still required.
  • Using face coverings in public, both indoors and outdoors, is now required.
  • Employees must use face coverings while at work unless they work alone or have no in-person contact with others, or they have a health condition which prevents them from using a face covering.
  • High risk populations should continue to stay home if possible and avoid public places.  

To find out more, visit Whatcom Unified Commands Safe Start page.  Details are at www.coronavirus.wa.gov.

What is the difference between Stay Home, Stay Healthy and quarantine?

Stay Home, Stay Healthy is a way for all of us to reduce the general risk to ourselves and to others. It means everyone is: 

  • Staying home as much as possible.  
  • If you go out, stay six feet apart, wear a face covering and wash your hands.
  • Stay local.

Quarantine is for individuals who we know have had direct exposure to the virus by being a close contact of someone with confirmed COVID-19. Someone self-quarantining stays home and limits interactions with others, including those in the home. This is important because a person can be contagious before symptoms begin. For more information about the difference between Stay Home, Stay Healthy, self-quarantine, and self-isolation see our fact sheet

If I think a business is not complying with the Safe Start plan what can I do? 

If you believe a business is not operating in a way that complies with the governor’s Safe Start guidance, you can submit an anonymous report. (Guidelines for enforcement for the Governor’s order (pdf)).  

Workplace safety and health complaints about your workplace or job site should be submitted to the  L&I Call Center: 1-800-423-7233

 Only call 911 for emergency situations.

What’s the Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) situation in Whatcom County? Is there enough PPE for medical workers?

PPE has been in short supply across the United States. To help get PPE to those who need it, Whatcom Unified Command uses a set of priority criteria to distribute PPE. The criteria are based on emerging response needs and guidelines from the Washington State Department of Health

PPE requests are prioritized to make sure that our health care workers, emergency response personnel, long term health care facilities with confirmed cases of COVID-19, and other health care facilities with confirmed cases of COVID-19 have their requests filled first. As those requests are completed, all other resource requests are filled as supplies allow. The priority criteria can change often since they are based on emerging response needs and the supply received by Whatcom County Unified Command.

Antibody Testing

What is an antibody test, and how could it be used during the COVID-19 pandemic?

An antibody test, also known as a serological test, looks for antibodies in the blood that tell us if a person has been exposed to a virus or bacteria. Your immune system makes antibodies when you are fighting off viruses and bacteria.

In the future, antibody testing may be able to reliably tell us several important things:

  • If someone who has previously been infected with COVID-19 is immune from future COVID-19 illness.
  • How long immunity from COVID-19 lasts.
  • Whether or not someone had COVID-19 in the past. 

However, scientists need to study antibody testing and COVID-19 immunity further to answer some important questions:

  • How reliable and accurate are antibody tests? There are dozens of antibody tests being marketed in the United States that haven’t been fully validated yet. Some tests are more accurate than others, and some can’t be compared to each other. We simply don’t know at this point that those tests are giving valid information.

  • What kind of long-term immunity do people have to COVID-19 after an infection? There isn’t yet enough scientific information to tell us how long immunity lasts in people who have been infected. With many diseases, immunity can wane over time for various reasons. We need to study this more before we can say that an antibody test proves immunity to COVID-19 in the long run.

 Right now, antibody tests can not be used to confirm whether or not someone has COVID-19. We are continuing to monitor this new science with hope that antibody testing will be another tool to prevent spread of COVID-19.

Are COVID-19 antibody tests available in Whatcom County?

Some providers are offering COVID-19 antibody testing. Currently, COVID-19 antibody tests do not tell people that they won’t get sick again. We need a better understanding about what kind of long-term immunity people have to COVID-19. There isn’t yet enough scientific information to tell us how long immunity lasts in people who have already been infected. With many diseases, immunity can wane over time for various reasons. 

Scientists need to study this more before we can know if an antibody test is actually proof of immunity to COVID-19 in the long run. There is still a lot to learn about what these tests really tell us.

Should I get an antibody test?

At this time, we do not recommend antibody testing as a reliable way to check for immunity or recovery from COVID-19. No one should draw definite conclusions about their protection from COVID-19 based on currently available antibody tests. 

While antibody testing holds a lot of potential, it doesn’t yet give us the kind of reliable information we need. Given the inaccuracies in the available tests and the uncertainty about what the test results mean for immunity, the test results are not yet a good source of information for us to base our public health decisions on. More work is needed on this kind of testing in the coming weeks and months. 

The Virus and Its Symptoms

What is coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19)?

COVID-19 is a respiratory disease caused by a new virus called SARS-CoV-2. Most people with COVID-19 will have mild disease, but some people will get sicker and may need to be hospitalized.

How severe is COVID-19?

The vast majority of people with novel coronavirus infection do not require medical care or hospitalization. A much smaller percentage of people get severely ill with respiratory problems like pneumonia. People most at risk for severe illness are:

  • People older than 65 years
  • People with chronic medical conditions
  • People with weakened immune systems
  • Pregnant people

What are the symptoms?

Symptoms of coronavirus may include:

  • Fever or chills
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headache
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Sore throat
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea

Can people spread the virus before they develop symptoms?

Often, with most respiratory viruses, people are thought to be most contagious when they are most symptomatic (the sickest), but for COVID-19, there can be spread by individuals who are not exhibiting typical symptoms.

Treatment

At this time, there is no specific treatment recommended for COVID-19.

  • We understand that many community members are worried about trying to find ways to treat or prevent COVID-19. It’s important to know that there is currently no treatment of COVID-19. As a community, the most effective way to limit the spread of COVID-19 is to stay home and to limit contact with others.
  • The best prevention steps for individuals are:
    • If you feel sick with any COVID-19 symptoms, get tested and stay home.
    • Cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue, wash your hands often with soap and water, and clean frequently touched surfaces and objects. 
    • Get plenty of rest, drink fluids, eat healthy foods, and manage your stress to help prevent getting COVID-19 and recover from it if you do.
  • Never make medicine from household products. Ingesting household products not intended for human consumption is harmful and can be deadly.
  • Always follow guidance from a medical professional. If you are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, call your doctor, get tested, and stay home. If you are having an emergency, call 911 and let them know you have symptoms of COVID-19.
    • The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are:
      • Fever or chills
      • Cough
      • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
      • Fatigue
      • Muscle or body aches
      • Headache
      • New loss of taste or smell
      • Sore throat
      • Congestion or runny nose
      • Nausea or vomiting
      • Diarrhea 
    • More information on what to do if you are sick is available from the CDC.

Exposure & Illness

I’m afraid I might have been exposed, what should I do?

You generally need to be in close contact with someone who has COVID-19 to get infected. Close contact includes:  

  • Living in the same household as a sick person with COVID-19.  
  • Caring for a sick person with COVID-19. 
  • Being within six feet of a sick person with COVID-19 for about 15 minutes. 
  • Being in direct contact with secretions from a sick person with COVID-19 (e.g., being coughed on, kissing, sharing utensils, etc.).

Close contact with someone includes the 48 hours before a person started showing symptoms. If you’ve been in close contact with someone who has a confirmed case of COVID-19 you should self-quarantine, monitor your symptoms, and ask your healthcare provider to order a test.  To learn more about how to handle potential exposure follow this guidance from the Washington State Department of Health.

What should I do if I was in close contact with someone with COVID-19 but I am not sick?

You should stay home and monitor your health for fever, cough and shortness of breath for 14 days after the last day you were in close contact with the sick person with COVID-19. You should not go to work or school, and should avoid all public places for 14 days.

If you have conditions that may increase your risk for a serious infection (e.g., age 60 years or older, are pregnant, or have medical conditions) contact your healthcare provider’s office and tell them that you were exposed to someone with COVID-19. They may want to monitor your health more closely or test you for COVID-19.

  • Our disease investigators are reaching out to anyone who was likely to be in close contact with any confirmed case.
  • If you were in close contact (within 6 feet for at least 15 minutes) with someone with lab-confirmed COVID-19 during their illness, follow these guidelines from the Washington State Department of Health.
  • If you have not been contacted by public health, we suggest you take the standard precautions that are recommended to all community members, including:
    • Wash your hands frequently.
    • Don’t touch your nose, mouth or eyes.
    • Sanitize frequently touched surfaces that might be touched by others with a sanitizer effective against coronaviruses.
    • Fully cover any coughs or sneezes so that no droplets escape.
    • Avoid large crowds and gatherings, or being within 6 feet of people for longer than 15 minutes.
    • Take particular care to protect people 65 years and older, people with underlying conditions and pregnant people. 
    • If you develop any symptoms of COVID-19, even mild ones, contact your doctor, get tested, and stay home for 10 days or until 3 days after symptoms have gone away, whichever is longer (minimum of 10 days).

What should I do if I am an essential worker and I had close contact with someone with COVID-19 while they were ill but I am not sick?

If you are an essential worker you can continue to work, provided you don’t have symptoms and the following steps are taken:

  • Pre-screen: have temperature and symptom check daily before starting work.
  • Regular self-monitoring for symptoms under the employer’s occupational health program.
  • Wear a mask: use at all times at work.
  • Social distance: maintain 6 feet of separation, or more, from other people as duties permit.
  • Clean and disinfect work spaces frequently.
  • Do not share headsets,  phones, food or drinks.
  • Clean and disinfect ‘high touch’ areas, like door handles and light switches, frequently. 

Follow these steps for 14 days from the time you were exposed.  If you develop symptoms, notify your employer and leave work immediately.  For more information see guidance from the CDC and the Washington State Department of Health. Essential workers include state & local law enforcement; 911 call center employees; hazardous material responders; janitorial and other custodial staff; and workers in food and agriculture, critical manufacturing, informational technology, transportation, energy and government facilities. 

What should I do if I’m sick?

  • If you have any COVID-19 symptoms, even mild ones, call your healthcare provider and ask to get tested. For more information on how to get tested visit our COVID-19 testing page
  • Stay home and take care of yourself as you would for a cold or flu. Stay home away from others until 72 hours after the fever is gone and symptoms are better AND it has been ten days since the start of symptoms.
  • If you have symptoms and need medical care, call ahead to your regular provider before going into a clinic or other health care facility.
  • If you need emergency medical care, call 911.

If you develop any of these emergency warning signs* for COVID-19 get medical attention immediately:

  • Trouble breathing.
  • Persistent pain or pressure in the chest.
  • New confusion or inability to arouse.
  • Bluish lips or face

*This list is not all inclusive. Please consult your medical provider for any other symptoms that are severe or concerning to you.

Call 911 if you have a medical emergency: Notify the operator that you have, or think you might have, COVID-19. If possible, put on a cloth face covering before medical help arrives. 

What should I do if I was in close contact with someone with COVID-19 and get sick?

Follow the guidance for, "What should I do if I’m sick?" above. 

What should I do to keep my infection from spreading to my family and other people in the community? 

If you have COVID-19, stay home except to get medical care. Do not go to work, school, or public areas. Avoid using public transportation, ride-sharing, or taxis. 

Separate yourself from other people and animals in your home.  

  • People: As much as possible, you should stay in a specific room and away from other people in your home. Also, you should use a separate bathroom, if available.  
  • Animals: You should restrict contact with pets and other animals while sick. When possible, have another member of your household care for your animals while you are sick; if you must care for your pet, wash your hands before and after you interact with pets and wear a face mask, if possible. 

What should I do if I am sick with COVID-19 and am pregnant or caring for a baby?

So far, pregnant people do not appear to be at greater risk for illness and complications from COVID-19 than other adults. Your healthcare provider will provide specific guidance for labor, delivery, and caring for your baby if you are sick. For additional information, the Washington State Department of Health has published guidance for Pregnancy, Birth, and Caring for Your Baby with Suspected or Confirmed COVID-19 (also in Spanish). For more resources, visit our Topics page


Guidelines for Returning to Work after Illness or Exposure

How do I know if I was exposed?

I was sick with COVID-19, and I’m a critical infrastructure worker. When can I go back to work?

You may return to work when:

  • At least 3 days (72 hours) have passed since the resolution of fever without the use of fever- reducing medications and improvement in respiratory symptoms (e.g., cough, shortness of breath); AND,
  • At least 10 days have passed since symptoms first appeared.
  • Individuals with laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 who have not had any symptoms may discontinue home isolation when at least 10 days have passed since the date of their first positive COVID-19 diagnostic test and have had no subsequent illness.

I was exposed to someone with COVID-19, and I am a critical infrastructure worker. What should I do? 

You may continue to work as long as you remain well and without symptoms, and if you take the following measures:

  • Pre-screen: have temperature and symptom check daily before starting work
  • Wear a mask: use at all times at work
  • Physically distance: as much as possible, remain 6 feet from coworkers
  • Disinfect and clean work spaces
  • Don’t share headsets, phones, food or drinks

If you start to experience symptoms, you should go home immediately and contact your healthcare provider.

I tested positive for COVID-19, and I’m a healthcare worker. When can I go back to work?

You may return to work when:

  • At least 3 days (72 hours) have passed since the resolution of fever without the use of fever- reducing medications and improvement in respiratory symptoms (e.g., cough, shortness of breath); AND,
  • At least 10 days have passed since symptoms first appeared.
  • Individuals with laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 who have not had any symptoms may discontinue home isolation when at least 10 days have passed since the date of their first positive COVID-19 diagnostic test and have had no subsequent illness.

You should also:

  • Wear a facemask at all times while in the healthcare facility until all symptoms are completely resolved or until 14 days after illness onset, whichever is longer.
  • Be restricted from contact with severely immunocompromised patients (e.g., transplant, hematology-oncology) until all symptoms are completely resolved or until 14 days after illness onset, whichever is longer

Some healthcare workers may experience prolonged cough as a result of respiratory viral infection, which may continue after isolation has ended. Those workers should wear a face mask until their cough resolves or their health returns to normal.

I was exposed to someone with COVID-19, and I am a healthcare worker. What should I do? 

You should actively monitor for symptoms consistent with COVID-19 infection, but can return to work provided you:

  • Adhere to cough etiquette and hand hygiene
  • Wear a facemask at all times while in the healthcare facility until 14-days after the date of exposure.

If you start to experience symptoms, you should go home immediately and contact your healthcare provider.

Some employers may require a negative test to return to work if you have tested positive.  Check with your employer to see if they have this requirement.


Insurance Coverage and Costs

I’m worried about costs, how much does testing cost if I do/don’t have insurance?

If you do not have insurance:

  • All uninsured Washington residents can see if they qualify for special enrollment in the The Washington Health Benefits Exchange or Apple Health. You can visit the Health Benefits Exchange website or call 1-855-923-4633; TTY: 1-855-627-9604 for more information. 
  • Call Unity Care NW’s Enrollment Office at 360-788-4633 to see what insurance you may qualify for. 
  • Healthcare providers and facilities offering testing and treatment for individuals who are uninsured can apply for reimbursement through the Health Resources and Services Administration. 

If you do have insurance: 

  • Your insurance will cover the cost of testing for COVID-19. Insurance companies are required to waive co-pays and deductibles for anyone requiring testing for COVID-19. More information can be found on the Washington State Office of the Insurance Commissioner’s website
  • If you are concerned about whether or not you should be tested, read the guidance from the Department of Health and call your healthcare provider first. 
  • Most health insurance plans will cover testing and treatment for medically-necessary services related to COVID-19. If you need medical treatment for COVID-19, copays and deductibles will still apply if you need treatment.


Taking Care of People Experiencing Homelessness

What is Whatcom County doing to support people who are without a home?

  • On March 16, Whatcom County received $905,821 in funding from the Washington State Department of Commerce to be used for emergency housing necessary to respond to the COVID-19 outbreak. These funds are for things such as:
    • Creating isolation and quarantine housing
    • Creating additional shelter capacity to replace shelter capacity lost when social distancing was increased
    • Increasing sanitation in existing homeless housing
    • Other costs associated with addressing the public health needs of people experiencing homelessness or displaced from their former housing due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
    • Most of these funds are now committed to ensuring that the relocation of the Lighthouse Mission’s Drop-In Center (DIC) and the development of new isolation and quarantine facilities do not interfere with their ability to safely provide crucial emergency shelter services for their guests.
  • On March 20, the Drop-In Center moved to Bellingham High School to allow for social distancing that will help protect DIC users from infection. 
  • Whatcom Unified Command is working to identify facilities that will enable isolation and quarantine for those experiencing homelessness during the COVID-19 outbreak. Whatcom Unified Command is also working to find appropriate personnel to oversee and provide services, including medical oversight of those in isolation. 
    • A site on Byron Avenue was recently opened in early May to host people who need either isolation or quarantine sites but do not have appropriate homes to use.
    • Additional funding has been added for the use of motel rooms to provide shelter for families that would otherwise be sleeping in their cars or outside.
    • Additional funding has been provided to non-profit housing agencies that will enable them to increase the amount of rental assistance they can provide during this crisis and prevent more households from becoming homeless.
  • Many non-profit housing agencies have expanded their services as part of the response to our community’s urgent housing and support needs. If you are able to support these agencies, contributions can be made directly through their websites.


Wearing a Cloth Face Covering (Cloth Mask)

Where can I find information about using cloth face coverings?

When should I wear a cloth face covering?

Starting June 26, 2020, a statewide order requires individuals to wear a face covering in indoor public spaces such as stores, offices and restaurants in Washington State. The order also requires face coverings outdoors when you can’t stay six feet apart from others.

Learn more about these requirements from the Washington State Department of Health and the Washington State Coronavirus Response website

Washington State residents and visitors must wear face coverings in most public settings. Wear a face covering when you are at any indoor or outdoor public space where you may be within six feet of someone who does not live with you.

Public spaces include:

  • Stores that sell food and beverages, such as grocery stores, pharmacies, convenience stores, and farmer’s markets.
  • Retail stores, such as auto supply stores, hardware stores, and garden stores. 
  • Restaurant take-out businesses. Employees who prepare, carry out, and deliver food must wear masks.
  • Buses, rideshares, and other forms of public transportation.
  • Workplaces for manufacturing, agriculture, construction, and other trades.
  • Outdoor public settings when you cannot maintain six feet of distance between yourself and others.

This order will remain in effect until it is repealed or replaced by the Secretary of Health, or until it is ended by the Governor.

Beginning June 8, most employees are required to wear a cloth facial covering or face mask, except when working alone in an office, vehicle, or at a job site. 

  • Exceptions include individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing, or who communicate with someone who relies on language cues such as facial markers and expression and mouth movements as a part of communication
  • Employers are required to provide cloth face coverings to their employees, unless their exposure dictates a higher level of protection. 
  • More information about these requirements can be found by visiting the state Department of Labor & Industries’ Coronavirus Facial Covering and Mask Requirements or their Which Mask for Which Task guide.

Disease Investigation and Reporting

Investigating where and how people could have been exposed to a confirmed case of COVID-19 is an important function of public health in managing this outbreak.

We are working to identify and advise those people who have had close contact with confirmed cases.

  • Disease investigations include talking with a lab-confirmed case about:
    • Where they were during their infectious period.
    • Who they may have had contact with for more than 15 minutes in a space of less than 6 feet.

Once we know this information, we reach out to each person who is a close contact to:

  • Let them know of their potential exposure to the disease.
  • Give them instructions about how to prevent infecting others.
  • Explain what they can do to take care of themselves.

We also know that there are people infected with COVID-19 in our community who will not be tested, so people in our community will come in contact with COVID-19 and not be aware of it.

To find out more see our  COVID-19 Case Investigation fact sheet.

I know I had contact with someone with a confirmed case of COVID-19. Why haven’t I been contacted?

Identifying close contacts and informing them to stay home and monitor for symptoms is an important public health response. We make these contacts as soon as possible.

  • You are only considered a close contact if you have been with a confirmed case within six feet for more than 15 minutes.
  • If you were a close contact of a confirmed case, you can expect a call or other communication from one of our staff. They will talk with you and tell you what to do next. If you have questions, you can call us at 360-778-6100.

If you were a close contact of a confirmed case while they were at the hospital, you can expect to have someone from the hospital contact you. The hospital infection prevention team does the contact investigation work for hospital employees, patients and visitors. They are able to use electronic medical records to see who was in the waiting room at the same time as the confirmed case.

What details do you share about a lab-confirmed case of COVID-19 in our community?

COVID-19 is most commonly transmitted when people have been in close contact with someone who is infected with COVID-19. This means spending at least 15 minutes within 6 feet of that person. Because of this, we concentrate our case investigation activities on those people that had close contact with a confirmed case for a prolonged period of time. We work diligently to contact the individuals and the organizations that meet the close contact definition and advise them on how best to protect themselves and the community.

Why aren’t you reporting the numbers of patients who have recovered?

We get this question a lot. The main reasons are:

  • People who have tested positive for COVID-19 are not required to report to the health department or to their healthcare provider when they have recovered. 
  • It’s likely that many people are recovering without even realizing that they’ve even been infected. Some people who become infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 show little or no symptoms and therefore are not tested in the first place. Since we can’t know how many people have been infected, we can’t know how many have recovered, and any data we give on recovery rates would be inaccurate. 


Ways to limit the spread of COVID-19

What can I do to help reduce COVID-19 from spreading to my family and other people in the community?

If you are not experiencing symptoms and have not been exposed to a confirmed case:

  • You should restrict activities outside your home and practice social distancing. 
    • Avoid public transportation, if possible (e.g., bus,  taxi, ride share).
    • Maintain distance of approximately 6 feet, or 2 meters, from others.
    • Only spend time with up to five people outside of your household in a week.
    • Use a cloth face covering when in indoor and outdoor public spaces.
  • Do not go to work if you are sick. 
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. 
    • Throw used tissues in a lined trash can, and immediately clean your hands as described below.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. 
    • If soap and water are not available, clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol, covering all surfaces of your hands and rubbing them together until they feel dry.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid sharing personal household items such as dishes, drinking glasses, cups, eating utensils, towels, or bedding with other people or pets in your home. After using these items, they should be washed thoroughly with soap and water and dried before use by others.
  • Prevent the spread of COVID-19 by making a plan to clean and disinfect your home or business regularly.  
    • Clean and disinfect all “high-touch” surfaces daily using an EPA-approved cleaner to kill germs. Some examples of high-touch surfaces are counters, tabletops, doorknobs, bathroom fixtures, toilets, phones, keyboards, tablets, and bedside tables. Also, clean any surfaces that may have blood, stool, or body fluids on them. Use these guidelines from the CDC to know what to clean, what to disinfect, and how often. 
    • Check out our factsheet for guidance and information 

When is it OK to stop home isolation after having COVID-19?

If you have been directed to care for yourself at home because you have had symptoms of COVID-19, or a confirmed case, you can stop home isolation under the following conditions:

  • At least 3 days (72 hours) have passed since recovery (you no longer have a fever and are no longer using fever-reducing medications and, your respiratory symptoms (e.g., cough, shortness of breath) have improved) and,
  • It has been at least 10 days since your symptoms first appeared.

If you have had a  laboratory-confirmed COVID-19, but have not had any symptoms, you can  discontinue home isolation when:

  • At least 10 days have passed since the date of your first positive COVID-19 diagnostic test and, 
  • You have not developed any symptoms of illness.

Additional information on preventing the spread of COVID-19 for your household members, intimate partners, and caregivers is available from the CDC.  


Children and Youth

Will there be summer camps this year? 

The Whatcom County Health Department is currently discussing summer camps and COVID-19’s impacts on these programs. The Health Department is following State Department of Health guidelines and the governor’s phased approach to opening the state. This is a rapidly changing situation, and we anticipate that requirements will be modified as we work through the different phases. Health and safety orders are subject to change and that events may need to be cancelled or rescheduled. 

We encourage camp directors to be flexible and creative in their planning, and to consider programs of different lengths and sizes, or even a virtual camp experience. Some camps have already decided not to be open this summer. We understand frustration caused by the inability to make concrete plans, but it is important that we continue to follow public health recommendations to work through the phases as quickly and safely as possible.