January 8, 2021

Aly Robinson, Public Information Officer
Whatcom County Health Department
(360) 303-9367

COVID-19 Virus Activity Higher than Ever, Officials Urge Immediate Action

Whatcom County has entered new, uncharted and dangerous COVID-19 territory. Since Dec. 30 cases have risen very rapidly, faster than ever before. There’s a high risk of the virus spreading even further as people return to work after the holidays. The Whatcom County Health Department advises immediate action to curb the rise in cases.

This week’s seven-day average is twice as high as last week’s. Recent days have seen record-high case counts.

Twice as many cases were reported this week than last, and case counts in recent days far exceeded previously seen daily count records. The virus is more active in Whatcom County now than at any time in the past, including the spring of last year. The rise in cases is consistent across all age groups. After preliminary and ongoing review of case investigations, it appears that the majority of transmission continues to occur in households and at social gatherings.

This week’s seven-day average is twice as high as last week’s. Recent days have seen record-high case counts.

Erika Lautenbach, director of the Whatcom County Health Department, said it’s imperative for Whatcom County residents to double-down on known preventive measures.

“The steps we need to take are familiar by now,” Lautenbach said, “and if we all act immediately, we can stop this viral surge in its tracks.”

These measures, Lautenbach said, include wearing a mask whenever around others who aren’t from the same household, avoiding gatherings, washing or sanitizing hands frequently, and staying home when experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 or after spending any time around others with symptoms. Anyone experiencing symptoms such as a fever, cough or shortness of breath should get tested immediately and stay home from work or school.

“We’ve said it before and we’re saying it again,” Lautenbach said, “But this time much more urgently. Now, perhaps more than ever, the actions you take today can save your life and the lives of others. Cancel your plans this weekend.”

        We acknowledge that Whatcom County is located on the unceded territory of the Coast Salish Peoples. They cared for the lands that included what we’d call the Puget Sound region, Vancouver Island and British Columbia since time immemorial. This gives us the great obligation and opportunity to learn how to care for our surrounding areas and all the natural and human resources we require to live. We express our deepest respect and gratitude for our indigenous neighbors, the Lummi Nation and Nooksack Tribe, for their enduring care and protection of our shared lands and waterways.
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