March 10, 2020                 
Media Contact:          Melissa Morin, Communications Specialist
Phone:                        (360) 594-2504
E-mail address:;

MEDIA AVAILABILITY:  In order to reduce the potential spread of COVID-19, there will not be a press conference. Instead, Health Department officials will have a media conference call at 3:30 pm on Tuesday, March 10, 2020.  Join Zoom Meeting
By computer:
By phone, dial:  +1 669 900 6833
Meeting ID: 688 810 365
Members of the media will be able to hear from John Wolpers, Incident Commander and Cindy Hollinsworth, Communicable Disease and Epidemiology Manager, both with the Whatcom County Health Department.

BELLINGHAM, WA – Today the Washington State Department of Health (DOH) confirmed a case of 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19) in a Whatcom County resident. The individual is a woman in her 60s who received medical care at PeaceHealth St. Joseph’s Medical Center. Her condition improved, and she was discharged. Since that time she has been self-isolated at home. She has no known international travel history. 

The Whatcom County Health Department is working aggressively to identify all those who may have come in contact with the confirmed case. Close contacts may include family members, co-workers, emergency responders and others. These people will be closely monitored for symptoms to avoid further spread of this virus. 

“We understand that news of this first confirmed case in our community creates fear and uncertainty.  Our public health team is working intensively to investigate the case, identify close contacts, and coordinate with our medical and community partners to protect public health,” said Dr. Greg Stern, Whatcom County Health Officer.  “We are particularly thankful for the Whatcom County medical community, which has been in close communication with us about evaluating specific patients and implementing evolving guidelines.”

With a growing number of cases in Washington State and the U.S., the risk to the general public is increasing. The risk to the local community is being assessed regularly and public health recommendations will be updated, as needed, based on the current risk.

“I want to share gratitude to our health care workers and public health staff”, said Whatcom County Executive Satpal Sidhu. “Our public health professionals have been working around the clock to coordinate the response to this outbreak and our health care workers have shown diligence and compassion in their work. Our communities rely on these essential roles and so many people have risen to the challenge.”

For more information on novel coronavirus
This is an emerging outbreak with rapidly evolving information. Updates will be made as new information is available on the DOH website and Whatcom County Health Department’s website. These websites include information for individuals, community organizations, schools and childcare facilities. Websites are being updated as new information becomes available. 

Questions for WCHD can also be emailed to 

The Washington State Department of Health has established a call center to address questions from the public. If you have questions about what is happening in Washington state, how the virus is spread, and what to do if you have symptoms, please call 1-800-525-0127 and press #. ###