Bellingham regions’ COVID infection rates drop below 100

Bozz District

For the first time in two months, a school district region within Whatcom County owns a COVID-19 infection rate lower than 100. And the even better news is it was the county’s most populated region that dipped below that threshold. The region covered by the Bellingham School District saw its […]

For the first time in two months, a school district region within Whatcom County owns a COVID-19 infection rate lower than 100.

And the even better news is it was the county’s most populated region that dipped below that threshold.

The region covered by the Bellingham School District saw its number of new COVID-19 cases per 100,000 residents in the past two weeks fall to 96, according to data released Tuesday, March 9, by the Whatcom County Health Department.

The last time the county had one of its seven regions with an infection rate lower than 100 was the Dec. 8 report, when the Mount Baker region checked in with 89. The last time Bellingham had a rate lower than 100 was the Nov. 10 report, when it stood at 64.

Since then, all seven regions have seen their case numbers and rates rise dramatically while the county wrestled with a post-holiday surge.

While Tuesday’s news was encouraging, three other regions in the county — the regions covered by the Lynden, Mount Baker and Nooksack Valley school districts — saw their infection rates climb for the second straight week.

Meridian’s rate was unchanged from last week, while the Blaine and Ferndale regions joined Bellingham in seeing decreases.

The county health department releases weekly data on the location of COVID-19 cases using school districts as geographical boundaries, including each region’s number of total cases during the pandemic and their infection rates. Data in Tuesday’s report was through Saturday, March 6, and the infection rates reflect cases between Feb. 21 and March 6.

Overall, the county saw a 2.8% growth in cases (185 cases) since the last data release on March 2 — a decrease from the 3.8% growth and 239 new cases seen the previous week, according to the county’s data.

With 424 cases the past two weeks, according to the report, Whatcom County has an overall infection rate of 188.4, based on 225,000 residents in the county. Four of the county’s regions had infection rates higher than that mark, according to the county’s data.

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Here is what the health department’s latest data showed for the seven regions in the county:

Bellingham: Up 2.2% (52 cases) since the March 2 report to 2,418 total cases, but the rate of new infections per 100,000 residents in the past 14 days decreased from 117 to 96.

Blaine: Up 3.0% (12 cases) since the March 2 report to 413 total cases, but the rate of new infections per 100,000 residents in the past 14 days decreased 193 to 165.

Ferndale: Up 3.0% (39 cases) since the March 2 report to 1,358 total cases, but the rate of new infections per 100,000 residents in the past 14 days decreased from 320 to 251.

Lynden: Up 3.4% (38 cases) since the March 2 report to 1,140 total cases, and the rate of new infections per 100,000 residents in the past 14 days increased from 420 to 425.

Meridian: Up 2.5% (nine cases) since the March 2 report to 368 total cases, and the rate of new infections per 100,000 residents in the past 14 days remained at 149.

Mount Baker: Up 3.6% (13 cases) since the March 2 report to 379 total cases, and the rate of new infections per 100,000 residents in the past 14 days increased from 215 to 272.

Nooksack Valley: Up 3.4% (22 cases) since the March 2 report to 674 total cases, and the rate of new infections per 100,000 residents in the past 14 days increased from 515 to 524.

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David Rasbach joined The Bellingham Herald in 2005 and now covers breaking news. He has been an editor and writer in several western states since 1994.

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