Whatcom County Health Department and Highland Health and Rehabilitation Responding to Facility Outbreak

39 confirmed cases and six deaths

Submitted by the Whatcom County Health Department

The Whatcom County Health Department (WCHD) has identified 39 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in an outbreak among residents and staff associated with Highland Health and Rehabilitation, a skilled nursing facility in Whatcom County. Twenty-three (23) of these cases are residents and 16 are staff associated with the facility. Staff from Whatcom County Health Department (WCHD) have been responding to the outbreak since it began on Friday, September 18th.

Highland Health and Rehabilitation has worked closely with the WCHD to test and monitor staff and residents, isolate affected staff and residents, and quarantine anyone who was exposed. The WCHD staff and the Washington State Department of Health have implemented additional infection prevention protocols, such as cohorting residents to reduce further transmission risk. 

“We are working closely with Highland staff to slow the spread of COVID-19 in the facility,” said Cindy Hollinsworth, Communicable Disease and Epidemiology Manager at the Whatcom County Health Department. “They’ve been very responsive. But even when everything’s running well, disease transmission is still possible, especially given the current rate of infection in the general population and the potential for individuals to be asymptomatic.” 

Of the confirmed cases, six people have died. Those who have died include:

  • A woman aged 100-109
  • A man aged 100-109
  • A woman in her nineties
  • A man in his nineties
  • A man in his nineties
  • A man in his seventies. 

To better protect those in our community most vulnerable to the virus that causes COVID-19, everyone should continue to practice the behaviors that prevent the spread of this infection. 

“Until there’s a vaccine,” Hollinsworth said, “wear your mask, wash your hands, watch your distance, and limit your gatherings. Those are the best things we can do.”

For more information about Highland Health and Rehabilitation’s response to COVID-19, please visit https://www.facebook.com/highlandrehabilitation/ and select “Learn More” within the COVID-19 Updates banner or call (360)-734-4800.

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