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Requested Actions

  • Continue to promote up-to-date COVID-19 vaccination as the best way to prevent severe COVID-19 outcomes.
    • Be aware, on April 20, 2022, CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) discussed those who are eligible to get a second booster dose of COVID-19 vaccine (i.e., 50 years or older; 12 years or older and moderately to severely immunocompromised; got Johnson & Johnson vaccine for their primary series and first booster). It is especially important for these people to get a second booster dose if they:
        • Are immunocompromised or have medical conditions that increase the risk of severe disease
        • Live with a person who is immunocompromised, at increased risk of severe disease, or cannot get COVID-19 vaccine because of age or contraindication
        • Are at increased risk of COVID-19 exposure
        • Live or work in an area with medium or high COVID-19 community level

Background

Early outpatient treatment of COVID-19 can prevent serious, potentially life-threatening illness and reduce burden on the healthcare system. CDC issued a HAN advisory on Dec. 31, 2021 to address using therapeutics in the outpatient setting for people with COVID-19. At that time, Omicron cases were rapidly increasing in the United States and some therapeutics were in short supply. Now antivirals for COVID-19 are widely available and accessible by prescription at pharmacies and Test-to-Treat locations nationwide.

Data from CDC (highlighted in a Feb. 13, 2021 CDC Infectious Diseases Society of America COVID-19 clinical call) and Food and Drug Administration (FDA) suggest use of systemic corticosteroids and antibiotics to treat outpatients with COVID-19 is increasing. However, these drugs can cause harm and provide no demonstrated benefit in patients with COVID-19 with no supplemental oxygen requirement or bacterial coinfection. Systemic corticosteroid short courses are associated with adverse events like hyperglycemia, gastrointestinal bleeding, psychosis, infection and long-term effects.

NIH provides COVID-19 treatment guidelines. The guidelines panel provides treatment options and recommends against using systemic corticosteroids to treat patients with mild to moderate COVID-19 who do not require supplemental oxygen. Patients who receive dexamethasone or other corticosteroids for other indications should continue therapy as directed by their healthcare provider. NIH recommends systemic corticosteroids for hospitalized patients with COVID-19 who require supplemental oxygen or higher-level respiratory support.

The guidelines panel also recommends against using antibacterial therapy for COVID-19 in the absence of another indication. Antibacterial drugs have no benefit in treating viral infections and can cause harm.

More information

 COVID-19 vaccine information

 COVID-19 testing

 COVID-19 test processing

Labs report varying amounts of time to process COVID-19 tests. To support faster turnaround, we encourage providers to use in-state labs. The table below shows COVID-19 test processing times for in-state private labs.

Lab Time to process test Tests processed daily
FidaLab 24 hours 300
Kaiser 24–48 hours 3,000
LabCorp 24–48 hours Unknown
Northwest Pathology 12–24 hours 3,000
Quest 24–48 hours 700
UW Virology 24–72 hours 5,000–7,000
Atlas Genomic 24–48 hours 10,000

COVID-19 therapies

Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) allocates monoclonal antibodies and oral antivirals to each state. DOH distributes doses to enrolled providers. Providers must enroll in Healthcare Partner Ordering Portal (HPoP) to manage COVID-19 therapies. Email mcm@doh.wa.gov for support enrolling.

Once enrolled, to request a supply of monoclonal antibodies or therapeutics, complete a smart sheet. Providers can now order treatments directly through HPoP.

 Additional information

COVID-19 prevention

Share with patients:

Immediately report COVID-19

We ask that you notify us of patients being tested who are hospitalized or have contact with a confirmed case, and not wait for the lab confirmation. Fax the COVID-19 Report Form to 360-778-6103. You can leave us a non-urgent confidential report on our 24-hour Communicable Disease Report Line, 360-778-6150.

Contacting the Health Department

Questions? Contact Whatcom County Public Health at (360) 778-6100.

Additional resources

 Contacting the Health Department

360-778-6100    Main Call Line – available M-F 8:30am to 4:30pm

360-715-2588    Afterhours Answering Service – available after 4:30pm and weekends

360-778-6150    Communicable Disease Report Line – 24 hours a day 7 days a week

360-778-6103    Confidential Communicable Disease Fax – 24 hours a day 7 days a week

1500 N State Street, Bellingham WA 98225