FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASEThursday, April 23, 2020Media Contact: Claudia Murphy, Joint Information CenterPhone: (360) 815-2701E-mail address: WUC_JIC@co.whatcom.wa.usA motel facility opened Wednesday, April 22, on Byron Avenue in Bellingham, to provide a safe place for individuals to isolate or quarantine if they cannot do so in their own home and are referred based on a medical provider’s referral. This is the community’s first Isolation and Quarantine (I/Q) facility.Isolation and quarantine help protect the public by preventing exposure to those with, or who may have, COVID-19:• Isolation separates sick people with a contagious disease from people who are not sick.• Quarantine separates and restricts the movement of people who were exposed to a contagious disease to see if they become sick. To be eligible for this facility, individuals will need to have a medical referral from a Whatcom County health care provider, assumed to be one of the following:• Their primary care provider (i.e. UnityCare, SeaMar, Associates in Family Medicine, Family Care Network, PeaceHealth Medical Group)• The hospital (PeaceHealth St. Joseph Medical Center), or• The Ground-level Response And Coordinated Engagement (GRACE) team.The referral agent must refer the individual with the following completed forms (these have been provided to all the above-listed medical providers):• Referral Form for Isolation and Quarantine facility• Release of Information form• Code of Conduct• Voluntary Quarantine Isolation agreementSocial workers from PeaceHealth St. Joseph Medical Center will maintain bed control for the facility, working daily from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The Byron Avenue I/Q facility is staffed by SeaMar, with support from Lighthouse Mission. This facility is housing designed for temporary use during medically required isolation and quarantine for those whose condition does not warrant a higher level of care. These are individuals who would otherwise be able to be in their own homes, but due to overcrowding, the presence of vulnerable people, a congregate environment, or other conditions, they need anotherlocation to safely isolate or quarantine for the medically recommended period of time.This facility has been set up through the Whatcom Unified Command process. General questions about the facility can be directed to WUC_JIC@co.whatcom.wa.us. This press release is available as a PDF.