UPDATE AS OF FEBRUARY 29, 2020 1:10PM - This is a rapidly evolving situation, and we will update this page as more information becomes available.
The new coronavirus outbreak is continuing to spread to more countries, and it is more and more likely that we will see an increase in cases of 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19) in the U.S. What does that mean for Whatcom County? Here are some answers.
The risk that you might be exposed to COVID-19 in Whatcom County remains low at this time. There are currently no cases of COVID-19 in Whatcom County. Even though we’re hearing a lot about this outbreak across the globe, there is still no evidence that the disease is currently spreading in our local community.
However, we expect that the number of cases of COVID-19 in the U.S. will grow. We can’t predict when that might happen, or even how severe an outbreak would be locally. But if the spread of COVID-19 does reach our community, it’s possible that there could be many people who become ill in a short time. As we’ve learned from past pandemics, this puts stress on our hospital and clinics, and it can affect day-to-day activities like school, work, and social events.
It’s essential that we prepare now so that we can reduce the negative effects that we could see in Whatcom County.
When there are many cases of a severe infectious disease in a community, public health officials recommend some community actions to limit it from spreading further. These “social distancing” actions help decrease the number of people who get sick, lightening the load on the healthcare system, and help slow the spread of the disease.
Exactly which actions are taken depends on how severe the outbreak is. Some of the typical kinds of actions that public health might recommend are:
If there is a COVID-19 pandemic, it could last for many months. Social distancing actions can disrupt normal, daily life, but there are some things you can prepare for ahead of time.
Since the first case of 2019 novel coronavirus was confirmed in the U.S. on January 21, our staff have been working to monitor this outbreak and take steps to keep our community safe.
This is a new virus, but the way that we prepare for and respond to it is not new. This is our day-to-day work to protect health and prevent disease in our community.