Covid-19 case rates continue to decline from the post-holiday peak at the beginning of the year.
“We continue to see a stabilizing and slow decrease with the rates in Whatcom County, which is very encouraging for us as we’re entering into the spring and moving into Phase 2,” said Erika Lautenbach, Whatcom County Health Department director, in a February 17 media conference. “We’re glad to see those rates lower than they had been a month ago and headed in the right direction.”
As of February 22, Whatcom County has had a total of 6,455 confirmed cases of Covid-19 since the start of the pandemic and 81 deaths, according to Washington State Department of Health (DOH) data. One person died in the past week and the percent of deaths per total cases is 1.2 percent.
All school districts continue to drop in case rates. Lynden school district had the highest rate of new cases in the past two weeks, with 380 confirmed cases per 100,000 people. Nooksack Valley school district trailed with 379 confirmed cases per 100,000 people. Blaine had a rate of 176 per 100,000 in that period, which is the fourth lowest in the county.
Whatcom County had a rate of 279 newly diagnosed confirmed and probable cases per 100,000 people over the past two weeks.
In the county, 14.7 percent of adult ICU beds were occupied by Covid-19 patients.
Lautenbach said during the media conference that the department is awaiting clarity from the state on the number of doses each county is receiving and the reason behind the allocation numbers.
“We do know, in conversations with the state department of health, they’re really trying to right-size how far along counties are,” Lautenbach said. She said some small counties ready to move into the next vaccine allocation phase have stopped receiving first dose vaccines because the state is using those doses for counties that need more vaccines.
Cindy Hollinsworth, health department communicable disease manager, said the department is also seeking information on what determines the number of vaccines given to each vaccine provider.
“Some smaller practices who don’t necessarily have a large population of patients over 65 or Phase 1a workers are choosing not to order vaccines at this time to let the larger clinics that need to get their operations going have more opportunity to receive vaccines,” Hollinsworth said.
About 29,560 vaccine doses have been administered in the county, which is an increase of 8,076 doses since last week. About 5.3 percent of county residents are fully vaccinated and 11.5 percent have received at least one shot, according to health department data. However, DOH data shows 12,030 county residents are fully vaccinated and 25,996 have received at least one shot – this number equals 38,026 vaccinated county residents because people have been vaccinated outside of Whatcom County.
The state has 37,990 vaccines administered without a county assignment, 40,748 people have had their first vaccine shot without an assigned county and 15,719 people are fully vaccinated without a county assignment.
Statewide, 1,379,318 vaccine doses have been administered, with 321,474 doses administered in the past week, according to DOH data. This is about 205,700 more doses administered than the previous week.
About 412,374 people in Washington have received two doses of the vaccine and 960,680 have received only one dose, according to DOH data.
Washington state has had 317,805 total confirmed cases since the start of the pandemic and 17,888 probable cases (probable cases come from an antigen test but not a molecular test). About 4,881 people in Washington with the virus have died as of February 22 and 19,160 have been hospitalized.