- Be aware, all people in COVID-19 vaccine Phase 1A—people who work in healthcare settings, people who live or work in long-term care, and first responders in emergency medical services—are eligible to receive vaccine. If you need help vaccinating eligible staff, contact the health department.
- Washington State Department of Health (DOH) and the governor’s office released guidance on COVID-19 vaccine Phase 1B. Phase 1B is divided into 4 tiers and is anticipated to begin mid-January.
Demand for vaccine is high and vaccine supply remains limited. Enrolled vaccine providers may only vaccinate people in Phase 1A at this time:
- People who work in healthcare settings.
- High-risk first responders in emergency medical services.
- Long-term care residents and staff.
PhaseFinder, Department of Health’s online tool to help people determine if they are eligible and find a COVID-19 vaccine, launches Jan. 18. If people aren’t currently eligible, the tool takes their contact information and notifies them when they are eligible.
All vaccine currently on hand is for first dose vaccination. Do not hold off on giving people their first dose. Two weeks after ordering first dose vaccine, DOH automatically orders second dose vaccine. If you want to delay or cancel your second dose order, email DOH at email@example.com.
Because additional doses are sometimes available in Pfizer vials, DOH will order and distribute additional ancillary kit supplies. Beginning Jan. 18, all ancillary kits will be upsized.
Patients should not have to pay out-of-pocket costs to get COVID-19 vaccine. Enrolled providers must give the vaccine regardless of a patient’s ability to pay. Providers may bill a patient’s health plan or program. Providers may not balance bill the patient. For details, see the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s information on filing claims for reimbursement.
- COVID-19 vaccine for providers– Whatcom County Health Department
- COVID-19 vaccine information– Whatcom County Health Department
- COVID-19 vaccine and enrollment information for healthcare providers—Washington State Department of Health (DOH).
- COVID-19 vaccine provider toolkit and resources—DOH.
- COVID-19 vaccination for healthcare professionals—CDC.
- Clinical considerations for COVID-19 vaccination—CDC.
- Vaccination distribution plan and Phase 1a guidance—DOH.
- Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine information for providers—CDC.
- Moderna COVID-19 vaccine information for providers—CDC.
- ACIP’s interim considerations for preparing for the potential management of anaphylaxis at COVID-19 vaccination sites—CDC.
- Providers authorized to administer and order vaccines—DOH.
- COVID-19 vaccine training module on best practices for healthcare providers—CDC.
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. See current COVID-19 test processing times for in-state private labs below.
|LAB||TIME TO PROCESS TEST||TESTS PROCESSED DAILY|
|Northwest Pathology||24-48 hours||13,000|
|UW Virology||24-48 hours||10,000-14,000|
|Atlas Genomic||48-72 hours||3,000|
Share the following materials with patients.
- What to do if you have COVID-19.
- What to do if you may have been exposed to COVID-19.
- What to do if you have COVID-19 symptoms and have not been tested or exposed.
Immediately report COVID-19
- Fax the COVID-19 Report Form or positive lab results to 360-778-6103
- Or leave a non-urgent confidential report on our 24-hour Communicable Disease Report Line: 360-778-6150.
- Or email to WCHD staff Health-DERT@co.whatcom.wa.us
- Please include “CONFIDENTIAL” at the beginning or end of the subject line if PHI is included.
Cases in the following people are high priority
- Healthcare workers (e.g., EMS, medical, nursing, any healthcare facility employee).
- Public safety workers (e.g., law enforcement, firefighter).
- Live or work in a long-term care facility, senior living center, permanent supportive housing or similar congregate setting (e.g., shelter, correctional facility) housing people at high risk for severe outcomes.
- Anyone who dies with COVID-19.
- Anyone with suspected MIS-C.
For all cases, report the race, ethnicity and preferred language of the individual.
Refer medically stable patients in need of safe quarantine or isolation housing: Persons who require assistance to isolate/quarantine should be referred to the Whatcom County Health Department to determine if they qualify to stay at the isolation and quarantine facility on Byron Street in Bellingham. Consult with the Whatcom County Health Department to determine the best option for individual circumstances, if you have any questions.
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|