These updates will include COVID-19 news, 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.
Currently, our updates and external data reports cover two weeks of data, ending the previous Saturday. Unless there are new COVID-19 developments such as a surge, we will be moving to monthly updates and reports in April. You can find the data report, plus additional data, at www.whatcomcounty.us/coviddata.
On March 19, 2020, Whatcom County lost its first resident to COVID-19. In the two years since that first death, 282 more residents have died from COVID-19.
For those who have lost loved ones, please remember that grief is not a linear or predictable process. There is no right or wrong way to grieve, and there is no timeline. It’s common to have a mix of feelings. This is especially true during this pandemic, when many people have been unable to be with their loved ones in the hospital or long-term care facility, and when memorial services and other gatherings have been delayed or modified.
If you’re experiencing grief, reach out for help if you need it.
Talk to your health care provider
Join a grief support group through Whatcom Hospice: whatcomhospice.org or 360-733-5877
Call the Disaster Distress Helpline: 1-800-985-5990
COVID-19 cases continued to decline in Whatcom County, falling to levels last seen in July 2021. While this is great news, we know that there are still many people who are concerned about COVID-19 because of their age or own health issues, their children who are too young to be vaccinated, or their loved ones who have compromised immune systems. Please remember that people have different priorities and concerns about changes in mask guidance, and be respectful and kind to others during this time.
Masking and COVID measures in schools. While the mask mandate was lifted for many settings, including K-12 schools, on March 12, remember that masks remain a tool for schools to require for people recovering from COVID-19 or during outbreaks.
Change can bring anxiety, especially for kids. Even the end of the mask mandate can bring stress. During the pandemic, children have experienced plenty and they look to parents and other grownups in their lives for cues. Set a good example. Like an umbrella or warm coat that we bring out in bad weather, masks will be a part of their lives when infections are on the rise.
CDC community level. CDC COVID-19 community levels are updated on Thursday evenings. Like checking air quality during wildfire season, it’s a good idea to regularly check community levels to see if you should adjust or postpone activities.
Therapeutics. Are you at risk of severe COVID-19 and just tested positive? Treatments such as monoclonal antibodies and oral antiviral medications can help you avoid severe illness and hospitalization.
To be effective, treatment needs to start within the first few days after a COVID-19 diagnosis. If you have symptoms, it’s important to test quickly--especially if you are at high risk. If you have COVID-19, talk to a health care provider about available treatment options.
COVID-19 data highlights (weeks of 2/27 - 3/12)
This update focuses on COVID-19 data for the two-week period ending the previous Saturday. We have to wait for complete data from a variety of sources, so our data reports will always cover previous weeks. You can find the data report, plus additional data, on our data page.
Cases. As has been the case for several weeks, many residents are turning to at-home tests and most of these results are underreported. WCHD will continue to monitor confirmed and probable COVID-19 activity, paying close attention to potential impacts from the lifting of the mask mandate.
The average daily case count has decreased to 17 cases per day.
The 7-day case rate as of March 12 was 48 per 100,000 people.
Among the sub-county areas, the 7-day case rates ranged from 59 per 100,000 in the Ferndale area to 6 per 100,000 in the Mt. Baker area.
The case rates for all age groups are now measuring between 82 per 100,000 for 18- to 24-year-olds and 27 per 100,000 for those 65 years and older. The last time case rates were at this level was in mid-July 2021 at the beginning of the Delta surge.
Hospitalizations. There were 38 new hospitalizations due to COVID-19 during this two-week reporting period. 53 percent of those hospitalized were aged 65 years and older.
Deaths. Our data team is looking at other measures to report deaths that better represent the distribution of these events across the population and take into account the additional vaccinations that are now common. We plan to begin this new reporting in April. Since our last data report, there were five deaths due to COVID-19:
Female, 70-79 years
Female, 80-89 years
Two males, 60-69 years
Male 80-89 years
Vaccination Progress and Clinics
Where to get vaccinated. Adolescents, teens and adults can get vaccinated for COVID-19 at most places you’d go for a flu vaccine, like grocery stores, pharmacies and health care clinics. Some of these providers also vaccinate 5- to 11-year-olds. There are also a number of pop-up clinics offering COVID-19 vaccines, some of which offer vaccines to 5- to 11-year-olds.
A more complete list of vaccine providers in Whatcom County can be found at VaccineLocator.doh.wa.gov.
Upcoming pop-up clinics
Nooksack Valley Middle School, 404 W. Columbia St., Nooksack
East Whatcom Regional Resource Center, 8251 Kendall Rd., Maple Falls
Lynden Middle School Cafeteria, 516 Main St., Lynden
Nooksack Valley Middle School, 404 W Columbia St., Nooksack
Shuksan Middle School, 2717 Alderwood Ave., Bellingham
Saturday, March 26, 10 a.m. - 2 p.m.
Vaccines available: Pfizer, Moderna, Pfizer-Pediatrics
A $25 gift card will be provided to all individuals who get vaccinated at this event, courtesy of the Bellingham Public Schools Foundation.
Ages 5+ Registration
Other clinics may be announced during the week. For an updated list, please visit whatcomcounty.us/covidvaccine.