News Flash

Health - Public Health News

Posted on: February 11, 2022

Whatcom County COVID-19 Update for 2/11/22

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.

Updates

COVID-19 cases are still high. While signs of a downward trend continued this week, the number of new cases right now is still more than twice as high as they were during the Delta surge, and our hospital and health care system are still under strain. 

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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. 

FEMA vaccine teams! It’s easier than ever now to get a COVID-19 vaccine or booster dose--a FEMA mobile vaccination unit is in town! The team will be here Feb 12-28, and can vaccinate hundreds of people every day. If you had trouble getting an appointment last month, now’s the time to get your booster or start your vaccination! 

The clinics will serve everyone ages 5 and up. Pfizer (pediatric and adult), Moderna (regular doses and boosters), and J&J are all available. $50 gift cards are available for people getting their first or second dose.

Sat - Wed: Feb. 12-16, Feb. 19-23, Feb. 26-28
11 a.m. - 6 p.m.
Health Education Center at PeaceHealth St. Joseph Medical Center
3333 Squalicum Parkway, Bellingham

Thu - Fri: Feb 17-18, Feb 24-25
11 a.m. - 6 p.m.
Bellingham Technical College’s Settlemyer Hall
3028 Lindbergh Ave, Bellingham

Walk-ins are welcome, or you can register here: https://whatcomcounty.us/3895

Vaccines for homebound patients. FEMA mobile teams will also bring vaccine to homebound patients. If you or someone you know has difficulty traveling to vaccine providers, please call 360-778-6075 and we can schedule an appointment for you.

Thank you to FEMA, DOH, the Washington Emergency Management Division, PeaceHealth St. Joseph, and Bellingham Technical College for helping us vaccinate more Whatcom County residents!

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.

  • The new slots are limited to people with COVID-19 symptoms or who are close contacts of a confirmed case, and can be scheduled by calling 360-778-6075 (Monday through Friday except for holidays, 9 a.m. - 3 p.m., no voicemail). If you are symptomatic or a close contact, you can also call Northwest Laboratory at 360-543-6904 to schedule an appointment.
  • Reminder: the ER is not a COVID-19 testing site. Do not go there if you are only looking for a test or have mild symptoms.
  • Please get tested through medical providers as much as possible. 
  • There are also several pharmacies (Sumas Drug, Nooksack Valley Drug, and Hoagland Pharmacy) who recently started offering rapid PCR testing. See our updated list of testing providers for details. 

Rapid tests. If you take an at-home rapid COVID-19 test and get a positive result, please report your result on our online form. This helps us track the spread of COVID-19 through the community. You can also anonymously notify your close contacts through the WA Notify app, which is available for both Apple and Android phones.

COVID-19 data highlights (week of 1/30 - 2/5)

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. In addition, DOH is still experiencing data processing errors, and cases for this reporting week include a significant number of duplicates. They are working to correct the data.

  • Whatcom County is continuing to see a decline in confirmed and probable cases in the most recent reporting week ending 2/5. The total for the week is currently 1,426, pending expected data corrections. Detected infections are still at a higher level than any previous surge during the pandemic.
  • The 7-day case rate was 626 per 100,000 people. 
  • Among the sub-county areas, the 7-day case rates ranged from 311 per 100,000 in the Mt Baker area to 1,046 per 100,000 in the Lynden area. 
  • The 7-day case rates are trending downward but remained high for all age groups under 65, with the highest rate at 1,156 per 100,000 for ages 5-17. 

Hospitalizations. There were 56 hospitalizations due to COVID-19 during this reporting week. Due to data processing errors, vaccination status of these patients is unavailable.

According to the Feb. 9 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 7 times higher for unvaccinated residents. For those 65 years and older, the hospitalization rate was 8 times higher among unvaccinated residents. 

Deaths. The vaccinated population in Whatcom County continues to grow and is an increasingly large percentage of the overall population. We expect that a greater proportion of deaths will occur among the vaccinated population.  In the future, we’ll be reporting deaths expressed as rates to take into account the very different population sizes, and we will be moving to a longer-term context. Since our last data report, there were four deaths due to COVID-19:

  • Vaccinated female, 50-59 years
  • Vaccinated female, 60-69 years
  • Vaccinated female, 80-89 years
  • Unvaccinated male, 60-69 years

According to the Feb. 9 DOH report mentioned above, unvaccinated individuals 65 and older are 8 times more likely to die of COVID-19 than vaccinated individuals 65 and older. 

Vaccination Progress and Clinics

Data. As of Feb. 7, 74% of all Whatcom County residents have started vaccination and 67% have finished. 6,643 children between the ages of 5 and 11 (about 37% of that age group) have received at least one dose. 80,859 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.

 

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