With COVID-19 community transmission once again on the rise, we are publishing weekly COVID-19 updates. In these updates, we will include news and updates, summarize publicly-available COVID-19 and vaccination data, and provide some context and details to help you understand what’s happening with COVID-19 in our community.
Each update will cover data for the week ending the previous Saturday. You can find the weekly data report, plus additional data, on our data page at www.whatcomcounty.us/coviddata.
Booster shots. This week, the CDC and the Washington State Department of Health (DOH) made recommendations for booster shots for people who previously received the Pfizer vaccine. People who should receive a booster dose of Pfizer at least 6 months after their second dose include:
People 65 and older,
People 18 and older living in a long-term care facility, and
People 50-64 with underlying medical conditions or at increased risk of social inequities.
In addition, the CDC and DOH recommended that the following groups of people ages 18-64 who received the Pfizer vaccine may also receive a booster dose of the Pfizer vaccine after six months:
People with underlying medical conditions, and
People who are at higher risk of COVID-19 exposure and transmission due to occupational or institutional setting.
These recommendations don’t apply to people who received Moderna or J&J. The CDC and FDA have not reviewed or authorized booster shots for either of those vaccines, and the CDC did not approve Pfizer boosters for people who received Moderna or J&J.
This update focuses on COVID-19 data through the previous Saturday. We have to wait for complete data from a variety of sources, so our data reports will always cover the previous week. You can find the weekly data report, plus additional data, on our data page.
Cases. Whatcom County continued to see elevated cases:
487 new cases were reported in the week. The 7-day average count for confirmed and probable cases was 69.6 per day.
The 14-day case rate was 447.4 per 100,000 people, or 1,020 total cases over 14 days.
Although case counts continued their plateau during this reporting period, it remains unclear whether this is a pause in the upward trend or whether case counts are beginning to decline.
Although case rates among adults are declining, the case rate among children 0–17 continues to climb and is now the highest of any age group.
Across sub-county areas, the 7-day case rates per 100,000 residents have held steady or shown downward trends in the recent reporting week. Currently, Lynden continues to see sustained higher rates than other areas.
The 7-day weekly case rate among unvaccinated residents in Whatcom County remains more than 4 times higher than the equivalent rate among fully-vaccinated residents.
Hospitalizations. During this reporting period, 17 Whatcom County residents were hospitalized because of COVID-19; five of them were fully vaccinated. This number includes people who have tested positive (using a PCR test) for COVID-19 and have been hospitalized due to their COVID-19 illness. It does not include people who have tested positive for COVID-19 and are hospitalized for other reasons (ex: heart attack, injuries).
Deaths. During this reporting period, there were two deaths due to COVID-19. They were:
An unvaccinated female, 90-99 years
A vaccinated female, 70-79 years
According to the Sept. 15 report from the Washington State Department of Health, unvaccinated individuals 65 and older are more than 8x likely to die of COVID-19 than vaccinated individuals 65 and older. (More explanation is planned for an upcoming report.)
As of Sept. 22, 59.7% of all Whatcom County residents have been fully vaccinated. Nearly three quarters (74.7%) of everyone who’s eligible, which includes all residents 12 and older, has started vaccination.
That’s great! But we need as many people vaccinated as possible to protect others who can’t get vaccinated, as well as those who may not get enough immunity from vaccination because of immune system deficiencies.
Pop-up Vaccine Clinics This Week
You can get vaccinated for COVID-19 at most places you’d go for a flu vaccine, like grocery stores, pharmacies and healthcare clinics. In addition to these, there are a number of pop-up clinics happening all over the county next week:
East Whatcom Regional Resource Center
Tuesday, Sept. 28, 9am-3pm
8251 Kendall Rd, Maple Falls
Pfizer, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson
You can get vaccinated for the flu here, too! You can get BOTH vaccines at the same time.
PeaceHealth Cordata Clinic
Thursday, Sept. 30, 5:30-6:30pm
4545 Cordata Pkwy, Bellingham
COVID-19 vaccination continues to be the most effective preventive measure we can take against the virus. You’re much more likely to get really sick or infect someone else if you aren’t vaccinated. Find a provider near you at WhatcomCounty.US/CovidVaccine, or at VaccineLocator.doh.wa.gov.