Whatcom County COVID-19 Update: 9/10/21

Submitted by the Whatcom County Health Department

With COVID-19 community transmission once again on the rise, we are publishing weekly COVID-19 updates. In these updates, we will include the latest developments, 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 at www.whatcomcounty.us/coviddata.

General updates

  • Our COVID-19 testing site at the Bellingham airport has added morning testing hours, 7:00 – 9:45 a.m., on Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays.
  • If you are using at-home rapid tests, please report positive results to the health department at 360-778-6190. Reporting positive results from at-home tests helps us track how and where the disease is spreading.
  • The Governor has announced that starting September 13, facial coverings will be required for large outdoor events with 500 or more attendees.
  • The President announced plans for a new requirement that workplaces with 100 or more employees ensure workers are fully vaccinated or require weekly testing for unvaccinated workers. 

COVID-19 data highlights (week of 8/29 – 9/4)

This update focuses on Whatcom County 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. 

Cases. Whatcom County continued to see elevated cases: 

  • 609 new cases were reported in the week. The 7-day average count for confirmed and probable cases was 97 per day.
  • The 14-day case rate was 551.3 per 100,000 people. This is the highest peak we have experienced in this pandemic, higher than even last winter’s peak.
  • Case rates remain highest among people ages 25-44. Rates among people 17 and younger have been rising, while rates in all other age groups are decreasing.
  • Case rates are not distributed equally in the county. Last week the Lynden sub-county area had the highest rate at over 1,000 cases per 100,000. Rates in the Blaine, Ferndale and Meridian areas also rose while we saw a decline everywhere else in the county.

Hospitalizations. During this reporting period, 26 Whatcom County residents were hospitalized because of COVID-19; three of them were fully vaccinated. This number includes people who have tested positive (using a PCR test) for COVID-19 and have been hospitalized due to their COVID-19 illness. It does not include people who have tested positive for COVID-19 and are hospitalized for other reasons (ex: heart attack, injuries).

Deaths. During this reporting period, there were three deaths due to COVID-19. They were:

  • An unvaccinated female, 30-39 years
  • An unvaccinated male, 50-59 years
  • A vaccinated male, 80-89 years

Vaccinated vs. unvaccinated case rates. Among total cases detected in Whatcom County residents, the case rate among unvaccinated residents remains significantly higher at 506 per 100,000 individuals compared to the case rates for partially (120) and fully vaccinated residents (152).

Vaccination progress (week of 8/29 – 9/4)

As of September 6, 58.5% of all Whatcom County has been fully vaccinated. Nearly three quarters (73.6%) of everyone who’s eligible, which includes all residents 12 and older, has started vaccination. That’s great! Let’s work together to get the remaining quarter of our eligible neighbors vaccinated. 

In addition to places you’d normally go for routine vaccinations, such as grocery stores, pharmacies or your healthcare provider, there’s a number of pop-up COVID-19 vaccine clinics happening this week. These include:

  • East Whatcom Regional Resource Center
    • Tuesday, Sept. 14, 9am-noon
    • 8251 Kendall Rd, Maple Falls
    • Pfizer, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson
    • COVID-19 testing is also available here (antigen, not for travel). Vaccine recipients will get a $25 gift card to local grocery stores. 
  • PeaceHealth Cordata Clinic
    • Thursday, Sept. 16, 5:30-6:30pm
    • Saturday, Sept. 18, 10:30am-12:30pm
    • 4545 Cordata Pkwy, Bellingham
    • Pfizer
    • First and second doses available
  • Old Lynden Middle School Gym 
    • Friday, Sept. 17, 3-6pm
    • 516 Main St, Lynden
    • Pfizer, Moderna
    • Antigen testing available here too. You’ll also get a $10 credit for Bordertown Mexican Grill’s food truck in Lynden if you get vaccinated.

COVID-19 vaccination continues to be the most effective preventive measure we can take against the virus. You’re much more likely to get really sick or infect someone else if you aren’t vaccinated. Find a provider near you at WhatcomCounty.US/CovidVaccine, or at VaccineLocator.doh.wa.gov.

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