continue to surge
Whatcom County health director Erika Lautenbach said the Covid-19 case and hospitalization surge are not yet over.
“Our continuing high cases rates indicate we have not yet seen a peak with this surge,” she said. “The surge is alarming and disappointing given all we have done to control this pandemic.”
On August 24, PeaceHealth St. Joseph Medical Center had 33 people admitted who either were admitted for Covid-19 or tested positive for Covid-19 after being admitted for another reason.
Whatcom County has had 552 probable and confirmed Covid-19 cases since last week and 11,730 total since the start of the pandemic, according to August 23 Washington State Department of Health data. Two people in Whatcom County died from Covid-19, increasing the total deaths to 111.
The Blaine school district area has the fifth highest Covid-19 case rate in the county at 360 cases per 100,000 people. Nooksack Valley’s case rates doubled in the past week and the school district now has the highest case rate. Covid-19 case rates increased in every school district area. Blaine school district has had 48 confirmed cases since last week.
Right now, 65.7 percent of Whatcom County’s eligible population is fully vaccinated and another 6.4 percent have either received one dose or have had the second shot within the last two weeks. Individuals are not considered fully vaccinated until two weeks after their second shot.
Washington state has had 517,214 confirmed and probable cases since the start of the pandemic (21,857 cases in the past week). In all, 6,269 people in Washington with the virus have died (82 in the last week). In the state, 28,979 people have been hospitalized (1,903 in the last week and more than double the previous week).
For more Whatcom County information, visit whatcomcounty.us/covidvaccine and whatcomcounty.us/coviddata. State information is available at bit.ly/3r2URJj. For CDC data, visit bit.ly/39Kt4qh.
Covid-19 outbreak among WCSO corrections deputies
Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office (WCSO) corrections deputies are experiencing a Covid-19 outbreak at the Whatcom County jail in downtown Bellingham. Eleven deputies and one inmate tested positive for Covid-19 after a corrections deputy tested positive August 14 during weekly mandated testing for corrections deputies, WCSO spokesperson Deb Slater said in an email to The Northern Light.
The infection is thought to have started with someone who refused to answer health questions or take a rapid Covid-19 test when being booked into jail, Slater said. Corrections deputies isolated the inmate because they wouldn’t take a Covid-19 test. The individual later tested positive and has been in medical isolation since.
All deputies are on medical leave and none of the 12 infected individuals are experiencing serious symptoms. Corrections deputies are now taking rapid Covid-19 tests daily and more PPE is required.
Inslee extends indoor mask mandate to those vaccinated
Governor Jay Inslee announced the existing statewide indoor mask mandate would expand to include vaccinated individuals, effective August 23. According to the governor’s office, every county in the state currently exceeds the CDC’s definition of substantial or high transmission rates and the state recently broke the record for Covid-19 hospitalizations set last December.
The mask mandate will apply to most all public places across the state, including restaurants, grocery stores, malls and public-facing offices, regardless of vaccination status.
There will be limited exceptions when face coverings won’t be required, such as office spaces not easily accessible to the public where individuals are vaccinated, and when working alone indoors or in a vehicle with no public face-to-face interaction. Small, private indoor gatherings where all attendees are vaccinated are also exempt.