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Whatcom County COVID transmission rate is highest in Washington State.

Nurse Jeanie Backus speaks about COVID-19 vaccination at Veterans Affairs Long-Term Care Facility on December 17, 2020 in Vancouver, Washington. (Photo by Nathan Howard / Getty Images)

Whatcom County, located near the Canadian border, is the state’s current COVID-19 access point. The county has a higher transmission rate elsewhere in Washington.

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Erica Lautenbach, Director of the Whatcom County Health Department, expects COVID-1

9 cases this month to triple that of December, the county’s worst month. As of Dec. 30, there has been a sharp increase in cases in the county and this week’s 7-day average is more than twice that of the previous week.

“The rates we see are different from what we have seen in the past and not the same as the rates we see after the Thanksgiving holiday. And unlike anything else we see in this state, ”Lautenbach said.

As she told KIRO Radio there were no known super-spreaders or spreading sites in the district. But, she said, the vast majority of cases that could be investigated were related to unsafe socializing.

“For the people we know, 80% of our cases come from social and household activities,” she said.

Lautenbach said there is an increase in cases of all age groups, and Whatcom County is in “uncharted and dangerous territory.” She urged everyone to cancel all unnecessary social activities and plans.

The health department is concerned that the virus will spread faster when employees return to work after vacation.To limit further spread, the department has urged residents to take extra precautions and promptly.

“The steps we have to take are familiar now, and if we all take immediate steps we can stop the stream of this virus,” Lautenbach said at the launch.

These measures include wearing a mask with other people outside of the same household, avoiding socializing, washing or washing hands frequently, and staying home when symptoms of COVID-19 are present or after spending time with others who have symptoms. Anyone with symptoms such as fever, cough, or shortness of breath should be tested right away and should be at home from work or school.

“We have spoken and we are talking again. But this time, it’s much more urgent, ”said Lautenbach at the launch,“ Now, maybe more than ever, the actions you take today can save your lives and the lives of others. Cancel your plans this weekend. “

Diane Duthweiler of KIRO Radio contributed to this report.

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