Newsflash

Posted on: February 16, 2024

PRODUCT RECALL: Italian-style Charcuterie Meats Recalled Due To Salmonella

Washington State Department of Health (WA DOH) is advising residents not to consume ready-to-eat (RTE) meat charcuterie products containing Coppa, a type of dry-cured pork, produced by Fratelli Beretta USA, Inc. The meat has been recalled because...

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Health - Public Health News
Posted on: January 23, 2024

Whatcom County Makes Historic Childcare Investments in 2023, With More Planned in 2024

As we look back on 2023, WCHCS is pleased to announce a landmark year for childcare investments.

In May 2023, Whatcom County awarded $5.8 million in funding to create 277 new slots and preserve 84 early learning slots across Whatcom County, including inves...

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Health - Public Health News
Posted on: January 22, 2024

Annual Homeless Point-In-Time Count starts January 25, 2024

The Point in Time (PIT) Count is a survey of people experiencing homelessness on a single night in January, with every community in the US counting on the same night. This year’s PIT Count night is January 25, 2024. The count helps to determine ...

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Health - Public Health News
Posted on: January 13, 2024

Existing shelters and community partners flex to expand services during extreme weather

With temperatures on Friday night, Jan. 12, near their lowest in more than a decade, temporary nighttime winter shelters worked in tight coordination to expand capacity and transportation services, accommodating guests seeking refuge from the frigid weath...

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Health - Public Health News
Posted on: December 22, 2023

Whatcom County Health Announces Vaccine Clinics for January-April 2024

These clinics are hosted or co-hosted by Whatcom County Health and Community Services. The clinics offer no-cost vaccines for those who qualify. If you are an adult 19 years and older, please check that you meet the eligibility requirements listed for the...

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Health - Public Health News
Posted on: December 7, 2023

Whatcom County Health Creates New Respiratory Virus Dashboard

Today, we debuted a new Respiratory Virus Dashboard page. Get Whatcom County data on COVID-19, influenza (flu), and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), all in one place. Data comes from the North Sound Region and Whatcom County. The dashboards will update ...

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Health - Public Health News
Posted on: December 6, 2023

Emergency Temporary Shellfish Closure Until December 11 for Drayton Harbor Due to Heavy Rainfall

Drayton Harbor have been closed to shellfish harvest by the Washington State Department of Health (DOH) due to recent heavy rainfall. An emergency temporary closure to shellfish harvest for Drayton Harbor Bay is effective December 5, 2023 until December 1...

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Health - Public Health News
Posted on: November 21, 2023

Microcystin Biotoxin Below EPA Limit in Wiser Lake and Silver Lake

Recent water sampling at Wiser Lake and Silver Lake detected microcystin levels below the maximum safe level established by the US Environmental Protection Agency. Whatcom County Health and Community Services has lifted the warnings for residents to avoid...

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Health - Public Health News
Posted on: November 20, 2023

Shellfish Biotoxin Closure lifted in Areas of Southern Whatcom County

Paralytic shellfish poisoning (PSP) biotoxin levels have dropped in shellfish in areas of southern Whatcom County. Based on most recent sample results, the Washington State Department of Health (DOH) has lifted the closure for beaches from Chuckanut Bay s...

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Health - Public Health News
Posted on: November 3, 2023

Shellfish Biotoxin Closure Lifted in Parts of Southern Whatcom County

Paralytic shellfish poisoning (PSP) biotoxin levels have dropped in shellfish in some portions of southern Whatcom County. Beaches in Portage Bay, Chuckanut Bay, and all of Larrabee State Park remain closed to the harvest of butter and varnish clams only....

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Health - Public Health News
Posted on: November 1, 2023

Why Does Terrell Creek Stink?

Whatcom County Public Works has recently received multiple inquiries about Terrell Creek. The sight and smell of the water may seem like cause for concern; however, the conditions are actually a natural seasonal occurrence caused by a lack of rain in the ...

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Cross-posted from Public Health - News Channel Health - Public Health News
Posted on: October 25, 2023

Council Approves Agreement for Winter 2023-24 Severe Weather Shelter

The Whatcom County Council has approved a lease with State Street Creamery, LLC, to operate Bellingham’s severe winter shelter (SWS) at the company’s 810 N. State Street property for the 2023-2024 winter season. The lease agreement starts Nov. 1, and the ...

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Health - Public Health News
Posted on: October 18, 2023

County Council Funding Supports Kitchen Upgrade in Rural ‘Food Desert’

The East Whatcom Regional Resource Center (EWRRC) kitchen will soon be commercially licensed, thanks to support from the County Council. The kitchen, which currently only has a limited use permit, was allocated $150,000 in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) ...

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Health - Public Health News
Posted on: October 6, 2023

WCHCS Supports Regional Guidelines for Masking in Healthcare Settings

Multiple healthcare facilities in the region have joined together voluntarily to prioritize the health and safety of patients and employees by voluntarily adopting masking requirements for employees and patients when emergency department visits or hospita...

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Health - Public Health News
Posted on: October 5, 2023

Shellfish Biotoxin Closure lifted in parts of Whatcom County

Paralytic shellfish poisoning (PSP) biotoxin levels have dropped in shellfish on northern Whatcom County beaches. In response, the Washington State Department of Health (DOH) lifted the recreational biotoxin closure for all species from Gooseberry Point n...

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Health - Public Health News
Posted on: October 2, 2023

Microcystin Biotoxin Found Above EPA Limit in Silver Lake

BELLINGHAM, WA – Recent water sampling at Silver Lake detected microcystins, a toxin produced by algae, at levels that may be harmful to people and pets. Toxin levels are above the maximum safe level established by the US Environmental Protection Agency. ...

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Health - Public Health News
Posted on: September 28, 2023

Washington State Department of Health No Longer Recommends The Use of Expired COVID-19 Tests

What to do with expired test kits? 

If you have an expired at-home test, check the FDA’s website to see if the expiration date has been extended before throwing it out.

Expired point-of-care and at-home COVID-19 tests should be disposed of immediat...

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Health - Public Health News
Posted on: September 7, 2023

What to Do if You’ve Been Exposed or Test Positive for COVID-19

We’re seeing an increase in COVID-19 hospitalizations locally and nationwide, but thankfully our numbers remain near the lowest levels in the last three years. Fall is typically when we see an increase in the ‘big three’ respiratory viruses - COVID-19, fl...

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Health - Public Health News
Posted on: September 1, 2023

What to Know About Respiratory Viruses This Fall

It’s fall in the northwest - the days are shorter, kids are back in school, and respiratory virus season is coming. The good news going into this season is that we have new and updated vaccines against COVID-19, flu, and RSV that could make this winter a ...

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Health - Public Health News
Posted on: August 18, 2023

Poor Air Quality Forecasted for the Weekend

A shift in wind direction is forecasted to bring wildfire smoke from fires burning in Canada and other areas of Washington to our area this weekend. This will be the first significant smoke event of the summer for our community, so if you haven’...

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Health - Public Health News
Posted on: August 14, 2023

UPDATED: Excessive heat forecast for Whatcom County through Wednesday 8/16

The National Weather Service has extended the active heat advisory. The heat advisory will remain in effect through 11 PM this evening (8/16). Hot conditions with temperatures of 80 to 90 degrees are expected. Heat will increase the risk of heat-...

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Health - Public Health News
Posted on: August 11, 2023

People, Pets Should Avoid Contact with Wiser Lake Water; Microcystin Biotoxin Found at High Levels

Recent sampling at Wiser Lake detected microcystin, a toxin produced by algae, at levels that may be harmful to people and pets if it is ingested. People and their pets should avoid water contact at Wiser Lake. 

WCHCS first posted caution signage ...

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Health - Public Health News
Posted on: August 10, 2023

Free Naloxone Distribution and Education Planned for Overdose Awareness Day

Whatcom County will recognize International Overdose Awareness Day with an event on Wednesday, Aug. 30, noon to 6pm on the Lee Memorial Park lawn behind the Bellingham Public Library (210 Central Avenue). 

Staff from Whatcom County Health and Comm...

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Health - Public Health News
Posted on: August 3, 2023

Update: Biotoxin Levels Close All Whatcom Beaches to Shellfish Harvest

High biotoxin levels have closed north Whatcom County beaches to shellfish harvesting. The recent closure of north county beaches is due to an increase in Diarrhetic Shellfish Poisoning (DSP) biotoxin in the most recent samples. In response, the Washingto...

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Health - Public Health News
Posted on: August 2, 2023

RETRACTED: North Whatcom Shellfish Ban Lifted, South County Areas Remain Closed to Harvest

***UPDATE (August 2 at 1:42)***

The Whatcom County Health Department would like to retract the information sent at Below regarding shellfish harvest upgrade in northern Whatcom County. New information indicates a possible rise in the plankton that harbors ...

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Health - Public Health News
Posted on: July 31, 2023

Whatcom County Passes Resolution Adopting Countywide Food System Plan

After four years of outreach and community engagement, the Whatcom County Council has adopted a Food System Plan to strengthen Whatcom’s local farms, markets, and food banks. With over 100 action items, the plan prescribes a number of steps the County can...

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Health - Public Health News
Posted on: July 10, 2023

All Hands Whatcom Hosts Author Sam Quinones Aug. 1 Addressing the Fentanyl, Meth Crisis

Whatcom County Health and Community Services is a sponsor of several upcoming All Hands Whatcom opioid education events, and we invite you to sign up and participate with us. The next event is An Evening with Sam Quinones on Tuesday, Aug. 1, 6 pm at Belli...

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Health - Public Health News
Posted on: June 29, 2023

Multi-Agency Coordinating Group Launches New Website for Local Opioid and Overdose Resources

A coalition of government agencies, community-based organizations, healthcare providers, and others from across Whatcom County are forming a Multi-Agency Coordination (MAC) Group in response to the local opioid and overdose crisis. A MAC group is a type o...

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Health - Public Health News
Posted on: June 28, 2023

Hot Safety Tips for a Cool 4th of July Weekend

As we celebrate Independence Day with friends and family, staying safe is a priority alongside having fun. Here are a few safety tips for your upcoming outdoor barbecue, water play, or fireworks experience:

Food-Borne Illnesses 

If you’re on grill ...

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Health - Public Health News
Posted on: June 26, 2023

Upcoming Care-a-Van Vaccine Clinics

Where to get vaccinated. Children 6 months and older, adolescents, teens and adults can get vaccinated for COVID-19 at most places you would go for a flu vaccine, like grocery stores, pharmacies and health care clinics. Grocery stores and pharmac...

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Health - Public Health News
Posted on: June 12, 2023

One Woman’s Story Illustrates Rise in Unhoused Seniors

Since 2020, Whatcom County data has shown a doubling of people older than 60 experiencing homelessness. Seniors are also more likely to live on fixed incomes that limit their housing options, combined with chronic health conditions and associated medical ...

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Health - Public Health News
Posted on: June 12, 2023

Whatcom County Sees Significant Rise in Homelessness, Mirroring State Trend

The annual Point in Time (PIT) Count of people experiencing homelessness in Whatcom County recorded the highest one-night count since the survey began in 2008. According to the 2023 Point in Time Count Report, released today, there was a roughly 27% incre...

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Health - Public Health News
Posted on: May 3, 2023

All Whatcom County Beaches Closed to Shellfish Harvesting

Unsafe levels of Paralytic Shellfish Poisoning (PSP) biotoxin have prompted the Washington State Department of Health (DOH) to close recreational harvest for all species of shellfish throughout Whatcom County. 

The Whatcom County Health Department...

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Health - Public Health News
Posted on: May 3, 2023

Several COVID-19 Health Services Ending May 11

The end of the Federal Public Health Emergency Order on May 11 will change how COVID-19 testing, treatment and vaccination services are paid for and how much they cost. Costs for these services will become more like coverage for other illnesses where what...

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Health - Public Health News
Posted on: May 2, 2023

Free Health Prevention Services Offered at One-Day East Whatcom Health Fair

Second Annual Event at East Whatcom Regional Resource Center a Collaboration of Local Health Organizations, Nonprofits, and Community Members

On Saturday, May 20, the East Whatcom Regional Resource Center will transform into a healthcare center, offering c...

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Health - Public Health News
Posted on: March 31, 2023

What’s Next When State Masking Requirements in Healthcare, Correctional Facilities End April 3

Earlier this month the Washington State Department of Health (DOH) announced their plan to end the Secretary of Health Mask Order, which currently requires masking in healthcare, long-term care, and adult correctional facilities for people age 5 and older...

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Health - Public Health News
Posted on: March 30, 2023

Whatcom County Ranked Eleventh Healthiest in Washington Based on National Study

Every year the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation ranks every county in the nation based on how they compare to others within the same state. The recently released 2023 County Health Rankings (CHR) have ranked Whatcom County 11th out of the 39 counties in Was...

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Health - Public Health News
Posted on: March 23, 2023

Veterinary Tranquilizer Xylazine Linked to a Growing Number of Overdose Deaths

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration has issued a public safety alert warning Americans about the dangers of a drug called Xylazine. Other counties in Washington State are seeing this drug in their communities, and we think xylazine is likely...

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Health - Public Health News
Posted on: March 9, 2023

An Update on Our Housing and Homelessness Programs

Earlier this week we provided the Whatcom County Council with an update on our housing and shelter programs. We also want to provide you, our community, with this information. Our department supports a broad range of programs that help people who are unho...

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Health - Public Health News
Posted on: March 2, 2023

UPDATE: No Toxins Found in Padden Algae

Update March 8, 2023:

No toxin was detected in sample results from algae tested at Padden Creek. 

Original Text Below, Published on 3/2/2023 

The City of Bellingham and Whatcom County Health and Community Services (WCHCS) are responding to ...

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Health - Public Health News
Posted on: March 1, 2023

Whatcom Residents Invited to Share Opinions and Experiences around Immunization in Online Survey

We want to understand your feelings and experiences around vaccines, and we have created a survey for you to share your opinions with us. This survey is open to anyone in Whatcom County who is 18 or older. It is completely anonymous and takes about five m...

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Health - Public Health News