The delta Covid variant is one of the most infectious respiratory diseases ever seen by scientists, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Thursday.
The variant is highly contagious, largely because people infected with the delta strain can carry up to 1,000 times more virus in their nasal passages than those infected with the original strain, according to new data.
“The delta variant is more aggressive and much more transmissible than previously circulating strains,” CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky told reporters at a briefing Thursday. “It is one of the most infectious respiratory viruses we know of, and that I have seen in my 20-year career.”
While the overall numbers give the appearance of stability, Whatcom County’s job market is still a bit chaotic as the local economy attempts to bounce back from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Washington’s Employment Security Department reports that Whatcom’s unemployment rate was 5.4% in June, which is about the same as the previous month and in line with much of 2019 before the pandemic.
Would-be workers are taking some time to return to the workforce, especially those who lost a low-wage job and are considering whether they want to do something different that might offer a higher wage, said Hart Hodges, co-director of the Center for Economic and Business Research at Western Washington University. Hodges spoke on the topic with other panelists during a Western Insights presentation on June 11.
Six of seven Whatcom County school district regions saw their COVID-19 infection rates increase last week, as the entire county is seeing case counts tick up yet again.
Only the region covered by the Nooksack Valley School District had its rate decrease last week, according to the latest location data released by the Whatcom County Health Department Tuesday, July 20.
Fortunately, none of Whatcom’s six other regions saw particularly large gains in the number of new COVID cases per 100,000 residents over the past two weeks, but the Blaine region did sneak back into triple digits and the Meridian region saw its first COVID cases in three weeks.
All Eastern Washington wildlife areas managed by the Washington state Department of Fish and Wildlife will be closed at night starting Friday in response to the high fire risk and worsening drought.
That includes water access areas within wildlife areas, according to the state.
Vaccinated Americans may be able to begin traveling to Canada in 2½ weeks, but Canadians, whether they’re vaccinated or not, will not be allowed to cross the border into the U.S. for non-essential reasons for at least another month.
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security on Wednesday, July 21, announced that it was extending its temporary restriction prohibiting non-essential cross-border travel from Canada through at least Aug. 21.
Whatcom County saw 69 new confirmed COVID-19 cases last week — the county’s highest weekly gain since mid June — but no new delta variant cases were reported by the Washington State Department of Health’s coronavirus dashboard.
Whatcom also saw nine new COVID-related hospitalizations but no new related deaths last week, according to the state’s data.
The fire has scorched more than 606 square miles -- an area larger than Los Angeles and about half the size of Rhode Island. It grew to more than 388,350 acres overnight from Monday to Tuesday and is 30% contained, according to data from InciWeb.
It's one of at least eight large fires burning in Oregon and one of at least 83 burning across 13 states, according to the National Interagency Fire Center. The climate crisis has made deadlier and more destructive wildfires the new normal.
The final winner of Washington state’s vaccine lottery has been announced. The “Shot of a Lifetime” $1 million prize winner, Kameron M., a 23-year-old motorcycle mechanic from South King County, joined Gov. Jay Inslee at a news conference Friday.
“He’s getting a $1 million check, but he’s done something for the state of Washington himself, which is to get this vaccine and save other people’s lives,” Inslee said.
After 16 months of border restrictions, fully vaccinated Americans are going to be able to visit Canada starting Monday, Aug. 9.
The Canadian government made the announcement on Monday, July 19. Americans will need to prove to border officials they are fully vaccinated through the ArriveCAN app. All travelers, regardless of vaccination status, will still require a pre-entry COVID-19 molecular test result, according to a news release from the Canadian government.
Unvaccinated American children under the age of 12 will be able to accompany a fully vaccinated parent or legal guardian and avoid the 14-day quarantine but must follow health guidelines for the region they are visiting.
An online map from InciWeb shows wildfires burning across the United States, including in Washington state.
The website includes detailed information about the fires, which can be accessed by clicking on the fire’s icon on the map, switching to “incident table view” or entering information in the search box, including fire name or state.
Information, including fire size, source and links to news articles, is updated regularly.