UPDATED FEBRUARY 29, 2020 3:45PM to reflect the recent developments and the evolving COVID-19 situation in the United States. This is an emerging, rapidly evolving situation. We will provide updated information as it becomes available.
As the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak continues to spread, we have seen an increase in cases in the United States and in Washington State. What does that mean for Whatcom County? Here are some answers.
While we still have no confirmed cases in Whatcom County, we are now seeing community spread of COVID-19 in the United States. Community spread means that there are cases for which the source of infection is unknown. Because we are beginning to see community spread, the risk of COVID-19 infection in Washington State is increasing, and we expect that the number of cases of COVID-19 in Washington State will grow.
It’s essential that we prepare now so that we can reduce the negative effects that we could see in Whatcom County.
When there are many cases of a severe infectious disease in a community, public health officials recommend some community actions to limit it from spreading further. These “social distancing” actions help decrease the number of people who get sick, lightening the load on the healthcare system, and help slow the spread of the disease.
Exactly which actions are taken depends on how severe the outbreak is. Some of the typical kinds of actions that public health might recommend are:
If there is a local COVID-19 outbreak, it could last for many months. Social distancing actions can disrupt normal, daily life, but there are some things you can prepare for ahead of time.
Since the first case of COVID-19 was confirmed in the U.S. on January 21, our staff have been working to monitor this outbreak and take steps to keep our community safe.
This is a new virus, but the way that we prepare for and respond to it is not new.