After the June 30 reopening and reaching the 70% vaccination milestone in Whatcom County, it felt like we were home free and that the pandemic was over. Unfortunately, the coronavirus didn’t get the message. As the highly contagious Delta variant takes hold, case rates are on the rise again all over the country, including Whatcom.
Last week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Washington State Department of Health (DOH) asked everyone, including vaccinated people, to wear masks in public indoor spaces, in areas with substantial or high transmission. In line with CDC and DOH guidance, the Whatcom County Health Department is asking everyone to wear masks in public indoor spaces and in crowded outdoor settings. Masking provides another layer of protection from becoming infected or transmitting to others if they are infected, and when everyone is wearing masks, businesses and organizations can ensure that unvaccinated persons are using masks without verifying vaccination records.
Masking and vaccination prevent transmission in a much less restrictive way than decreasing business occupancy/capacity or closures. If we can stop the rise in infections by universal masking in the short run, and by increasing vaccination coverage in the long run, we might be able to avoid returning to more restrictive measures.
For more details about why we’re making this recommendation, please see our news flash.
If you would like signage about masking, you can download printable PDFs.
Can employers require employees to get vaccinated?
The Network for Public Health Law has released updated guidance for employers considering vaccination mandates, including some recent legal findings.
For more information
For more information about local case rates and vaccination rates, please visit our COVID data page (updated every Tuesday). To find a vaccine provider near you, visit VaccineLocator.doh.wa.gov.