Page updated: April 7, 2021 at 5:39 p.m.
Visit our vaccine page for more information.
On March 11, 2021, the Governor announced that Healthy Washington: Roadmap to Recovery will be transitioning from a regional approach to a county-by-county evaluation process.
All counties in Washington will move into Phase 3 on Monday, March 22.
Under the updated plan, counties will be individually evaluated every three weeks. The evaluations will occur on Mondays with any possible changes taking effect Friday, with the first evaluation scheduled for April 12.
Under Phase 3:
You can find more information about what activities are allowed and what's open in Phase 3.
Employers and employees who have questions about the new reopening plan can submit an inquiry to the state’s Business Response Center.
As we reopen Whatcom County remember:
To find out more, visit www.coronavirus.wa.gov.
If you believe a business is not operating in a way that complies with the governor’s Healthy Washington reopening guidance, you can submit an anonymous report. You can also view guidelines for enforcement for the Governor’s order (PDF).
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.
You generally need to be in close contact with someone who has COVID-19 to get infected. Close contact is defined as being within six feet of a person with COVID-19 for a total of about 15 minutes within a 24-hour period.
If you’ve been in close contact with someone who has a confirmed case of COVID-19 you should:
If you’ve been in close contact with someone who has a confirmed case of COVID-19, you should follow these recommendations (PDF)
If you develop any of these emergency warning signs* for COVID-19 get medical attention immediately:
*This list is not all-inclusive. Talk to your medical provider about 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.
Quarantine is for people who:
People who quarantine stay home and avoid contact with anyone who is not a household member. This is important because a person can be contagious before symptoms begin.
Isolation is for people who:
People who go into isolation need to avoid contact with all others - including household members. If possible, people in isolation should stay in a separate room, use a separate bathroom, have meals prepared for and brought to them.
People who cannot isolate or quarantine safely in their home can stay at the county’s isolation/quarantine facility at no cost to them. We will help arrange for a stay at the facility.
You don’t have to quarantine or isolate if all of the following are true:
If any of the above aren’t true for you, you will still need to isolate or quarantine if you’ve tested positive for COVID-19 or come into close contact with someone who has. If you’ve been contacted by someone from the health department, follow their advice. For more information about isolation and quarantine see the CDC’s Duration of Isolation and Precautions for Adults with COVID-19.
Whether or not you’ve been exposed or had a positive test result, you will need to keep following standard COVID-19 safety precautions after completing your vaccine series. Standard COVID-19 safety precautions include wearing a mask, keeping 6 feet minimum physical distance from non-household members, washing your hands frequently and limiting your social gatherings.
For more information about vaccine considerations check out the CDC’s Interim Clinical Considerations for Use of mRNA COVID-19 Vaccines Currently Authorized in the United States.
For more information about COVID-19 and pregnancy, refer to this handout from the Washington State Department of Health.
If you have been isolating at home, you can end your isolation when both of these things are true:
If you have tested positive for COVID-19 but did not had any symptoms, you can end home isolation when:
Additional information on preventing the spread of COVID-19 for your household members, intimate partners, and caregivers is available from the CDC.
The return to work procedure for (non-healthcare) workers who are close contacts of someone diagnosed with COVID-19 varies between critical infrastructure workers (who work for essential businesses) and workers at non-essential businesses.
All non-healthcare workers who are diagnosed with COVID-19 or considered "probable" cases, must be excluded from work and may not return until they are released from isolation by the health department.
You do not need a negative test to return to work.
For healthcare workers with mild to moderate illness, you may return to work when:
For asymptomatic healthcare workers:
For healthcare workers with severe to critical illness, or who are severely immunocompromised:
You should also:
You should actively monitor for symptoms consistent with COVID-19 infection, but can return to work provided you:
If you start to experience symptoms, you should go home immediately and contact your healthcare provider.
No. Unless you have a severely weakened immune system or you have experienced a serious case of COVID-19, you do not need a negative test result to return to work.
If you have insurance:
If you do not have insurance:
Contact tracers, or case/contact investigators (CCIs) call people who are diagnosed with COVID-19 and their close contacts.
They talk with each person who has received a positive COVID-19 test to find out:
Once we know this information, we reach out to each person who is a close contact to:
CCIs will ask a few identifying questions:
CCIs will never ask for your:
For more information on how to avoid scammers, visit Federal Trade Commission’s Consumer Information: Help COVID-19 contact tracers, not scammers.
To find out more, see our COVID-19 Case Investigation fact sheet.
Identifying close contacts and informing them to stay home and monitor for symptoms is an important public health response. Due to recently high volumes of cases and contacts, we may not be able to call all close contacts. You may get a text indicating you are a close contact and can report any symptoms through the Sara Alert system. Learn more about how Sara Alert works here: https://saraalert.org/how-sara-alert-works/.
If you have questions, you can call us at 360-778-6100.
Data regarding confirmed cases of COVID-19 in our community can be found on our COVID-19 Data Dashboard. We protect private health information and only share limited details about COVID-19 cases.
We get this question a lot. The main reasons are:
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.
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. According to the CDC, people most at risk for severe illness are:
While most people with COVID-19 recover and return to normal health, some patients can have symptoms that can last for weeks or even months after recovery from acute illness. Even people who are not hospitalized and who have mild illness can experience persistent or late symptoms. Learn more about long term symptoms on the CDC’s website.
Symptoms of coronavirus may include:
Yes. COVID-19 can be spread by individuals who are not exhibiting typical symptoms. In some cases, the individual may not have developed symptoms yet, and in other cases, people may carry and spread the virus without ever experiencing symptoms.
Virus variants are different versions of the same virus with unique adaptations. The seasonal flu is an example of a virus variant that changes every year. Like the flu, COVID-19 evolves over time. There are several new COVID-19 variants around the world right now. Variant B.1.1.7, otherwise known as the “U.K. variant,” has several mutations that allow it to “stick” better to the cells in our bodies. This means that when you inhale particles containing the virus, the new strain is more likely to cause infection than the original strain.
Besides its greater likelihood to cause infection, this variant is not noticeably different from the original strain. Both have identical symptoms, both can be spread by asymptomatic individuals, and both can cause hospitalization or death. Some studies in the U.K. have indicated infection with this variant is more likely to result in hospitalization and death than infection with the old variant, but studies in the U.S. have yet to confirm this.
The same steps you take to protect yourself from the original strain of COVID-19 work against variant B.1.1.7. The new variant is not any better at penetrating properly-fitted masks, it is just better at causing infection once its particles have been inhaled. Whatever you can do to distance yourself from others who may be infected - which is anyone outside your household - will protect you from variant B.1.1.7. These steps include:
So far there’s been no evidence to suggest that the two currently available vaccines are less effective against variant B.1.1.7 than the original COVID-19 strain.