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, www.whatcomcounty.us/coviddata.
COVID-19 cases are still at an extremely high level. While we are cautiously optimistic that we’re seeing the start of a downward trend, the number of new cases right now is still about five times higher than they were during the Delta surge, and our hospital and health care system are still under enormous strain.
How you can help. Please go to the emergency room only when you have a serious or life-threatening injury or illness. Don’t go to the ER if you’re looking for a COVID-19 test or if you have mild symptoms.
Please get vaccinated, or get boosted if you’re eligible. When you’re around others, wear a high-quality, well-fitting mask--preferably a KN95, KF94, or 3-ply surgical mask. And postpone social gatherings.
Our health care system, our schools, and our essential infrastructure need your help to stay functional. Please do your part.
COVID-19 testing. Some good news about local testing: our testing partner, Northwest Laboratory, is now able to test more people! It should be easier for more people to get tested in a shorter time frame.
Rapid tests. Lots of news this week, including how to get free tests!
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. There is some uncertainty about this week’s exact numbers for a couple of reasons. As has been the case for several weeks, many residents are turning to at-home tests and most of these results are unreported. Please also note that DOH has notified us that due to a processing error, cases for this reporting week include a significant number of duplicates. They are working to correct the data.
Hospitalizations. There were 51 hospitalizations due to COVID-19 during this reporting week, still high but a welcome decrease from the previous week’s record of 63. Of these patients, 34, or two-thirds, were unvaccinated.
According to the Jan. 19 DOH report on COVID-19 Cases, Hospitalizations, and Deaths by Vaccination Status, hospitalization rates are many times higher among unvaccinated residents. For Washington residents 12 – 64 years old, the hospitalization rate per 100,000 is 5 to 8 times higher for unvaccinated residents. For those 65 years and older, the hospitalization rate was 7 times higher among unvaccinated residents.
Deaths. Since our last data report, there were six deaths due to COVID-19:
According to the Jan. 19 DOH report mentioned above, unvaccinated individuals 65 and older are 11 times more likely to die of COVID-19 than vaccinated individuals 65 and older.
Data. As of Jan. 22, 73% of all Whatcom County residents have started vaccination and 66% have finished. 6,129 children between the ages of 5 and 11 (about 34% of that age group) have received at least one dose. 75,185 booster doses have been administered to Whatcom residents; about a third of those have been given to people 65 and older.
Pop-ups. 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. In addition to these, there’s 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:
Other clinics may be announced during the week. For an updated list, please visit whatcomcounty.us/covidvaccine.
Pediatric vaccination opportunities. In addition to many of the clinics listed above, we maintain an up-to-date list of local pediatric vaccine providers on our vaccine page. You can also find vaccine providers that serve 5- to 11-year-olds at VaccineLocator.doh.wa.gov.