Covid-19 briefly ...


(Ed note: The Whatcom County health department’s (WCHD) Covid-19 data dashboard was not updated with the previous week’s data by press time. A WCHD spokesperson told The Northern Light that delayed lab results caused incomplete data for a second consecutive week. The WCHD will temporarily update its local dashboard every Thursday, instead of Tuesday, while the data is delayed.)

Whatcom County was averaging 1,554 Covid-19 cases per 100,000 people in a one-week period, according to January 23 Washington State Department of Health (DOH) data. Sixty-five percent of all Whatcom County residents are fully vaccinated.

The DOH reports there have been 30,202 Covid-19 cases in Whatcom County since the start of the pandemic. Six county residents died in the past week, bringing the virus’ death toll up to 224 people.

On January 25, 64 people at PeaceHealth St. Joseph Medical Center in Bellingham had either been admitted for Covid-19 or tested positive for Covid-19 after being admitted for another reason. 

State mails free Covid-19 tests 

The DOH has started sending free Covid-19 antigen tests to residents’ doorsteps. 

As of January 21, Washington state residents can order up to five rapid tests per household at The state’s program is in addition to the federal government’s free at-home Covid-19 test program that launched January 18.

The DOH anticipated the Covid-19 tests would be ordered quickly, and said in a January 21 news release that it planned to restock Covid-19 tests.

“We anticipate people’s initial need in the test kits will exceed our current supply pretty quickly, but our focus is sharing what we have right now,” said Lacy Fehrenbach, DOH deputy secretary for Covid-19 response. “We want to make sure the tests we have are in homes when our state needs testing the most – during this current surge.”

WCHD expands testing 

Whatcom County Health Department (WCHD) and Northwest Laboratory expanded their partnered Covid-19 testing capacity at the drive-through Bellingham International Airport location. The additional testing times available for close contacts of someone who tested positive for Covid-19 or those with Covid-19 symptoms, according to a January 21 WCHD media release. To book an appointment, people can call 360/778-6075 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday.

State modifies Covid-19 dashboard

The DOH updated the way it displays information on its Covid-19 dashboard on January 21 to better reflect the current stage of the nearly two-year pandemic, according to a DOH press release. DOH is now updating the dashboard on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, instead of three times a week as it did previously. For more information on other updates to the DOH Covid-19 dashboard, visit


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