News Flash

Health - Public Health News

Posted on: October 15, 2021

Whatcom County COVID-19 Update for 10/15/21

In these updates, we will include news and updates, summarize publicly-available COVID-19 and vaccination data, and provide some context and details to help you understand what’s happening with COVID-19 in our community.

Each update will cover data for the week ending the previous Saturday. You can find the weekly data report, plus additional data, on our data page at

General updates

  • New features on the local data dashboard. This week, we’ve added features so you can easily view and compare case rates by county area and age group. Our goal is to make it easier for Whatcom residents to understand where COVID-19 cases are occurring, so they can make more informed decisions. Read our news flash for more details.

  • Moderna boosters. See the “Vaccination Progress” section.

  • Vaccination requirements for large events in Washington. Beginning November 15 in Washington state, large indoor events (1,000 or more attendees) and large outdoor events (10,000 or more attendees) will need to require their attendees to provide proof of vaccination or a recent negative COVID test. The focus is on large events that attract visitors from other areas of the state or country. This requirement applies to ticketed/registered events, not venues such as malls or grocery stores. The requirement also does not apply to religious services or events held on K-12 campuses. 

COVID-19 data highlights (week of 10/3 - 10/9)

This update focuses on COVID-19 data through the previous Saturday. We have to wait for complete data from a variety of sources, so our data reports will always cover the previous week. You can find the weekly data report, plus additional data, on our data page

Cases. Whatcom County is seeing a decline in cases: 

  • 407 new cases were reported in the week. The 7-day average count for confirmed and probable cases was 58 per day.

  • The 14-day case rate was 395 per 100,000 people, or 900 total cases over 14 days. 

  • Cases continued to decline gradually during this reporting week after briefly rising at the end of September. 

  • Across sub-county areas, every area saw a decline in 7-day case rates per 100,000 residents. Confirmed cases in the Nooksack Valley appear to crest during the previous reporting week before falling to a rate of 322 per 100,000 as of 10/9. 

  • The case rate among school-age children is still higher than other age groups reported, although it’s also declining. Cases among school-age children continue to make up about a quarter of all confirmed cases in Whatcom County. 

Hospitalizations. During this reporting period, 26 Whatcom County residents were hospitalized because of COVID-19; 20 (77%) were unvaccinated or partially vaccinated. This number includes people who have tested positive (using a PCR test) for COVID-19 and have been hospitalized due to their COVID-19 illness. It does not include people who have tested positive for COVID-19 and are hospitalized for other reasons (ex: heart attack, injuries).

Deaths. During this reporting period, there were 3 deaths due to COVID-19:

  • one unvaccinated female, 50-59

  • one unvaccinated female, 80-89

  • one unvaccinated male, 60-69

According to the Sept. 15 report from the Washington State Department of Health, unvaccinated individuals 65 and older are more than 8 times more likely to die of COVID-19 than vaccinated individuals 65 and older. (More explanation is planned for an upcoming report.)

Vaccination progress

Data. As of October 11, 60.9% of all Whatcom County residents have been fully vaccinated, and nearly two thirds (66.1%) of the county has gotten at least one dose! Out of everyone in the county who’s eligible, currently everyone 12 and older, 75.7% have gotten at least one shot of a COVID-19 vaccine.

If one of your family members is eligible for the vaccine but hasn’t gotten vaccinated yet, gently encourage them to get vaccinated and offer them support if they need it. The CDC has tips for navigating sensitive conversations about COVID-19 vaccines. 

Boosters. The FDA’s vaccine advisory panel voted unanimously on October 14 to recommend the approval of Moderna boosters for people older than 65 who received their last Moderna shot at least 6 months prior. They also recommended Moderna boosters for adults younger than 65 who are at higher risk of infection or transmission because of certain underlying medical conditions, their place of work or their living conditions.  

On October 15, the panel advising the FDA again voted unanimously to recommend the use of booster doses for Johnson & Johnson vaccine. Unlike Moderna, this recommendation was to approve boosters for all adults who received their first dose of Johnson & Johnson at least 2 months prior.  

There’s still a few more approval processes needed before Moderna and Johnson & Johnson boosters become available. The FDA still needs to approve these recommendations, and then the CDC’s Advisory Council on Immunization Practices needs to weigh in. We’ll keep you updated about the review process as more updates become available.

Clinics. You can get vaccinated for COVID-19 at most places you’d go for a flu vaccine, like grocery stores, pharmacies and healthcare clinics. In addition to these, there are a number of pop-up clinics happening all over the county next week:

  • A Watered Garden

    • Wednesday, Oct. 20, 3-7pm

    • 700 Strandell St, Everson,

    • Pfizer, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson

  • PeaceHealth Cordata Clinic (by appointment only)

    • Wednesday, Oct. 20, 9am-noon AND 1-4pm

    • Thursday, Oct. 21, 1-4pm

    • Friday, Oct. 22, 9am-noon AND 1-4pm

    • 4545 Cordata Pkwy, Bellingham

    • Pfizer

    • Flu vaccines offered here, too! You can get both at the same time.

    • While demand for booster doses is high, PeaceHealth will be giving vaccinations by appointment only. Appointments are available to everyone, you don’t need to be an established patient to sign up:

  • East Whatcom Regional Resource Center

    • Thursday, Oct. 21, 3-7pm

    • 8251 Kendall Rd, Maple Falls

    • Pfizer, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson

    • $25 gift cards available for first and second dose recipients.

    • Antigen tests offered here too! Not for travel.

  • Old Lynden Middle School Gym

    • Friday, Oct. 22, 3-7pm

    • 516 Main St, Lynden

    • Pfizer, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson

    • Antigen tests offered here too! Not for travel.

    • $15 Bordertown Mexican Grill food credit for people who get their first or second doses! 

  • DOH Care-a-Van

    • Saturday, Oct. 23, 10am-1pm

    • 112 Columbia St, Sumas (parking lot of Sumas Medical Clinic)

    • Pfizer, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson

    • $25 gift cards for vaccine recipients (first and second dose only).

    • You don’t need an appointment but if you’d like one, you can register here:

  • DOH Care-a-Van

    • Saturday, Oct. 23, 3-6pm

    • Crossroads Grocery, 7802 Silver Lake Rd, Maple Falls

    • Pfizer, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson

You don’t need an appointment but if you’d like one, you can register here:

This week’s Facebook posts

The Health Department posts regularly on Facebook. Here’s a list of this week’s posts.

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