News Flash

Health - Public Health News

Posted on: January 8, 2021

Whatcom County COVID-19 Cases Are Higher Than Ever and Rising

Another wave of COVID-19 activity is sweeping over Whatcom County, and it’s the biggest one yet. Our case counts are higher than they’ve ever been. Since December 30, cases have been rising and doing so faster than ever before. As people return to work and school after the holidays, this rise will only increase unless we all take strong and decisive action. 

Chart of Whatcom County COVID-19 cases.

This week’s seven-day average is twice as high as last week’s. Recent days have seen record-high case counts.

Twice as many cases were reported this week than last, and case counts in recent days far exceeded previously seen daily case count records. Unlike in the past, this wave is sweeping across all age groups and the rise in cases is consistent across all age groups. After preliminary and ongoing review of case investigations, it appears that the majority of transmission continues to occur in households and at social gatherings.

Newly confirmed COVID-19 cases per 100,000 people during the prior two weeks, by county and ageEvery age group is experiencing a steep increase in virus activity.

Erika Lautenbach, director of the Whatcom County Health Department, said it’s imperative for Whatcom County residents to double-down on known preventive measures. “The steps we need to take are familiar by now,” Lautenbach said, “and if we all act now, we can stop this viral surge in its tracks.”

We all know what these measures are, and we’ve heard them repeated consistently for the last several months:

  • Avoid crowds and gatherings.
  • Keep a distance of at least 6 feet from people you don’t live with.
  • Wear a mask whenever you’re around people who don't live with you - this includes when you’re outdoors, if you can’t maintain a 6-ft distance. 
  • Wash or sanitize hands frequently.
  • Stay home when experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 or after spending any time around others with symptoms.
  • Get tested and isolate from others if you are experiencing symptoms such as a fever, cough or shortness of breath.

It is absolutely vital that right now each and every one of us do as much as we can to stop the spread. This is something that each of us, through our individual actions and choices, has the ability to stop.

“We’ve said it before and we’re saying it again,” Lautenbach said, “But this time much more urgently. Now, perhaps more than ever, the actions you take today can save your life and the lives of others. Cancel your plans this weekend.”

As you double down on your efforts, you may find it helpful to review some of the guidance on COVID-19 precautions and healthy habitschoosing the right mask and using it safely, and tips on cleaning to prevent COVID-19.

This situation may feel daunting. It is easy to be discouraged by another surge in cases -- our largest one yet. But we know what each of us needs to do. Thanks for doing your part, Whatcom County. 

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