1/12/20 Health Advisory: COVID-19 Updates for Providers

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Requested actions


Vaccine eligibility

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.

Vaccine allocation

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 covid.vaccine@doh.wa.gov.

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.

Vaccine costs

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.

Additional resources

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.

FidaLab 24-48 hours 2,000
Kaiser 24 hours 1,000-1,300
LabCorp 48 hours 5,000
Northwest Pathology 24-48 hours 13,000
Quest 24-48 hours 8,000
UW Virology 24-48 hours 10,000-14,000
Atlas Genomic 48-72 hours 3,000

Patient education

Share the following materials with patients.

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

General Contact:
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

Additional resources