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.
This week, our data report has a preview of a new chart that will be part of the local data dashboard starting next week. This new chart will allow you to look at COVID-19 case rates in sub-county areas by age groups.
As of Sept. 27, 75% of eligible Whatcom County residents, which includes all residents 12 and older, has gotten at least one shot of a COVID-19 vaccine. See the Vaccination Progress section for more details.
COVID-19 data highlights (week of 9/19 - 9/25)
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:
438 new cases were reported in the week. The 7-day average count for confirmed and probable cases was 62.6 per day.
The 14-day case rate was 404.39 per 100,000 people, or 922 total cases over 14 days.
Case counts continued a slow decline during this reporting period.
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. The Lynden area continues to see sustained higher rates than other areas, and Meridian and Mount Baker areas are seeing increasing trends though they still remain below the county average.
Although case rates among adults are declining, the case rate among children 0–17 remain the highest of any age group. A closer look within sub-county areas shows that this trend is being experienced differently throughout the county. Specifically, children ages 5–17 in the Blaine and Lynden sub-county areas have seen a higher case rate than all other areas.
Hospitalizations. During this reporting period, 19 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 was one death due to COVID-19:
According to the Sept. 15 report from the Washington State Department of Health, unvaccinated individuals 65 and older are more than 8 times more likely to die of COVID-19 than vaccinated individuals 65 and older. (More explanation is planned for an upcoming report.)
Vaccination progress (week of 9/26)
This week we’ve seen a couple of important vaccination milestones! As of Sept. 27, 60% of all Whatcom County residents have been fully vaccinated, and 75% of everyone who’s eligible, which includes all residents 12 and older, has gotten at least one shot of a COVID-19 vaccine. This is fantastic news!
There are still about 50,000 people in our county who are eligible but haven’t yet been vaccinated. It’s important that we get as many people vaccinated as possible so we can protect people who aren’t able to get vaccinated from COVID-19. If you’re vaccinated, gently encourage people you know who aren’t vaccinated to make an appointment, and offer them any assistance they may need, if you can.
Together, we can get through this. We’re making great progress, but we aren’t finished yet.
Booster doses of the Pfizer vaccine are now available for some people who finished their Pfizer vaccination series at least 6 months ago. You should get a booster dose of the Pfizer vaccine as soon as possible if you’re older than 65, living in a long-term care facility, or if you’re between 50 and 64 years old and have certain underlying health conditions.
You may also get a booster dose of the Pfizer vaccine if you're 18 or older and have certain underlying health conditions, or if you live or work in a high-risk setting such as a hospital, prison, factory, grocery store or homeless shelter.
If you’re eligible, you can get a booster right away at any place you’d normally get a COVID-19 vaccine, like a pharmacy or pop-up vaccine clinic. You don’t need a referral from your health care provider to get a booster dose.
Right now, only booster doses of Pfizer are recommended, and booster doses aren’t available for people who were vaccinated with Moderna or Johnson & Johnson. Do not mix-and-match vaccine brands! The FDA and CDC are still reviewing data for Moderna and Johnson & Johnson, and if boosters get approved for these vaccines, we will let you know. You can get more information about booster doses at WhatcomCounty.US/CovidVaccine.
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:
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.