The new B.1.1.7 variant of COVID-19, commonly referred to as the “UK variant,” has been reported in Snohomish and Pierce counties. While this is certainly cause for concern, it is not cause for alarm.
Here’s what we know so far about the new variant and what it means for Whatcom County:
Since this variant is more infectious, it’s possible we will see an increase of COVID-19 cases in Whatcom County if the variant appears here. That means our hospitals and healthcare staff could become overburdened. There are steps the community can and should take to prevent infection and limit the spread right now:
None of these steps are new, but all need to be followed more diligently. It is more important than ever that we all continue to consistently take steps that prevent the spread of the virus.
We’re continuing to test for evidence of this variant in Whatcom County and will immediately tell you if we find any.
Vaccines by the Numbers
Providers in Whatcom County are due to receive 1,700 first doses this week, bringing Whatcom County’s total allotment of first doses from the state to 13,850. As of Jan. 25, providers in Whatcom County have administered 11,998 COVID-19 vaccines. Data for doses given comes from the Washington Dept. of Health’s Data Dashboard and is based on the location where vaccines were administered, and could include doses given to residents outside the county.
Demand continues to far exceed supply in Whatcom County and statewide. All providers are struggling to schedule every eligible patient. Vaccinating everyone will take time. We encourage you to check your provider’s website for information about vaccine availability and to sign up for text, email, or patient portal updates. Avoid calling unless directed to by the provider. Providers are currently fielding thousands of calls regarding vaccines, and people with other urgent medical needs aren't always able to get through.
You can find a list of COVID-19 vaccine providers in Whatcom County at DOH’s website. Please understand all of these providers are dealing with high demand and low supply too. Check back often and contact these providers via their preferred contact method.
More information about the COVID-19 vaccine, vaccine planning, and vaccine safety can be found on the DOH’s COVID-19 vaccine web page at www.covidvaccinewa.org.
For information about the COVID-19 vaccination in Whatcom County, visit our webpage at www.whatcomcounty.us/covidvaccine.