March 18, 2020

Claudia Murphy
Whatcom Unified Command

Local Governments Across Whatcom County Are United in Response to COVID-19 Outbreak

Whatcom County and every local jurisdiction within it are focusing combined resources on addressing the COVID-19 outbreak. The full scope of the impacts of this public health crisis is not yet clear, but it is certain to affect the life of every member of our community in one way or another.
In addition to the health impacts of COVID-19, our local economy and daily lives are being significantly affected. Schools and senior centers are closed, businesses are suffering, workers are shut out of their jobs, and this list of disruptions will undoubtedly grow in the coming weeks.
Our first priority as a community must be to help stop the spread of COVID-19 by following the guidelines and recommendations of the Whatcom County Health Department and Washington State Department of Health. We must also avoid panic and hoarding, which only exacerbates the situation.
Since January, the local government, following the lead of the Whatcom County Health Department, has been working tirelessly to address the crisis. Now, in an effort to further support the public health response, all Whatcom County governments have consolidated efforts under a Unified Command, so that issues such as border crossings, supply chain disruptions and economic impacts can be addressed through a single coordinated and common front. This Unified Command is comprised of the best and most qualified in Whatcom County from local, state, federal, tribal and private sector personnel.
A Policy Group made up of the County Executive, Mayors, County Councilmembers, Sheriff, Tribal leaders and key elected officials from Whatcom County provide recommendations to the Unified Command. This group will ensure that we have a consolidated, focused and direct interface between the citizens of Whatcom County and Unified Command.
In Whatcom County we are all faced with an unprecedented challenge. Every one of us need to now come together to support one another. As residents, please remember to help your neighbors, check in on seniors you know by phone or e-mail and be kind to each other. We are all in this together, and we will make it through.

Executive Satpal Sidhu, Whatcom County
Mayor Seth Fleetwood, City of Bellingham
Mayor Bonnie Onyon, City of Blaine
Mayor Kyle Christensen, City of Sumas
Mayor John Perry, City of Everson
Mayor James Ackerman, City of Nooksack
Mayor Greg Hansen, City of Ferndale
Mayor Scott Korthuis, City of Lynden
Chairman Ross Cline, Nooksack Indian Tribe
Chairman Lawrence Solomon, Lummi Indian Business Council
President Michael Shepard, Port of Bellingham
Sheriff Bill Elfo, Whatcom County Sheriff
Tyler Byrd, Whatcom County Council Member
Barry Buchanan, Whatcom County Council Member
Gene Knutsen, Bellingham City Council Member
Eric Richey, Whatcom County Prosecuting Attorney

        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.
Bellingham Whatcom County Tourism
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