The Delta variant has not been detected in Whatcom County since the first case was reported July 7, but the Washington State Department of Health is warning about its spread as Covid-19 cases increase in the state.
Governor Jay Inslee announced July 28 the state will follow CDC guidance recommending people wear a mask indoors when Covid-19 may be transmitted more easily.
Whatcom County has had a total of 10,256 confirmed and probable cases of Covid-19 since the start of the pandemic, according to July 26 DOH data. The county had two deaths in the past week, increasing the death toll to 108.
PeaceHealth St. Joseph Hospital is treating seven people with confirmed Covid-19 cases, a three-person increase from last week, according to PeaceHealth.
Covid-19 case rates increased in every school district, with Nooksack Valley’s case rate tripling and Meridian’s doubling. Blaine school district increased from 100 to 121 cases per 100,000 people last week. The school district has had 15 confirmed cases since last week.
The increase in Covid-19 cases in Whatcom County comes as cases increase across the state, according to DOH, which is concerned vaccination rates are not keeping up with the virus as Delta spreads.
The state’s Covid-19 transmission increased significantly near the end of June. On July 2, the number of new people that a Covid-19 case would transmit to was 1.46. DOH said a number above one signals the virus is spreading faster. It’s hard to estimate how much of an increase the virus is spreading due to uncertainty in the estimate, but the number would need to be below one for a while to make cases decline, DOH said in a press release.
DOH data shows the Delta variant made up 58 percent of Covid-19 cases tested in genetic sequencing June 20-July 3. DOH projected 92 percent of cases by mid-July could be caused by the Delta variant, according to the July 27 press release. In June, about 18 percent of confirmed molecular Covid-19 cases were tested for their genetic sequence.
As of July 25, 55.5 percent of all county residents are fully vaccinated and 5.2 percent are either waiting for their second dose or received their last vaccine dose less than two weeks ago, according to the department. The department reports 126,533 county residents are fully vaccinated and 11,810 are in the process of becoming fully vaccinated.
Statewide, 8,105,754 vaccine doses have been administered. Right now, 52.3 percent of the state’s total population is fully vaccinated and 61.4 percent of people eligible for the Covid-19 vaccine are fully vaccinated.
Washington state has had 470,333 confirmed and probable cases since the start of the pandemic (the 40,230 probable cases came from an antigen test). In all, 6,056 people in Washington with the virus have died (41 in the last week) and 26,566 have been hospitalized (301 in the last week).
For more Whatcom County information, visit whatcomcounty.us/covidvaccine and whatcomcounty.us/coviddata. State information is available at bit.ly/3r2URJj. Vaccine locations can be found at bit.ly/3nZiMqr. For CDC data, visit bit.ly/39Kt4qh.