In what has been one of the most difficult business climates ever, many Whatcom County retailers and restaurants were able to find a way to survive this pandemic year.
The number of announced permanent closures of restaurants, bars and retail stores is fairly similar to recent years. At the end of 2020, the number of counted Whatcom restaurant/bar/catering businesses totaled 22, which is similar to the totals posted in 2019, 2018 and 2017. When you add in retail stores and service businesses, the total counted is 45, which is also similar to closure totals in recent years.
Whatcom County has 171 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 over three days, according to the Washington State Department of Health on Sunday, Jan. 3. New deaths are not announced on weekends.
No numbers were released on Friday, Jan. 1, due to the holiday and the state Department of Health did not update its COVID-19 dashboard as expected Saturday, Dec. 2, due to data processing challenges.
Washington state will rely on an honor system to determine eligibility for COVID-19 vaccinations, so those administering vaccines do not have to police who qualifies.
The state plans to launch an online questionnaire — called PhaseFinder — soon where people can determine their own eligibility for vaccination.
Skiers, mountaineers and others who spend time around the Northern Cascades are sought by the Living Snow Project, a program that studies pink snow, an occurrence that causes the snow in a glacier to take on a reddish-pink hue due to the growth of ice-adapted algae, in the range. They can contribute by either sharing observations of the phenomenon through a dedicated app or collecting pink snow samples to help scientists at Western Washington University characterize each sample’s microbiome and learn more about the dynamics behind this snow-melting process which models aren’t accounting.
After a summer concocting various formulas for opening our university campuses so that some semblance of the campus experience might be preserved and then a bumpy opening, many of us have settled back into more comfortable versions of the online teaching venues that were the default modality when we quickly devised ways to teach our classes as the pandemic emerged in February and March. A Chronicle of Higher Education survey in June reported what faculty had already suggested by anecdote and complaint, that online teaching—even if adorned with the bells and whistles of Zoom—could not hold a candle to teaching in a brick-and-mortar classroom. Faculty hoped for training courses over the summer so they could offer better courses in the fall. But in our discussions with each other then and over the summer and into the fall, and in many articles and op-ed pieces in the education press, we have mainly focused on what was wrong with online teaching — everything from problems with student engagement to the dangers of co-option of teaching models by university administrations and the continued erosion of the status of teaching faculty.
A registered nurse and doctor who have treated COVID-19 patients in the intensive care unit at St. Joseph were the first and second health care workers at the hospital to get the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine on Friday, Dec. 18 — a day celebrated as a new beginning.
Workers at the Bellingham hospital clapped after Agnes Kuc, a nurse in the hospital’s COVID unit, received the first shot. The nurse said she was happy she was selected to be the first and felt hopeful that “we’re getting closer right now to the end of the pandemic.”
PeaceHealth, which owns the hospital, received 975 doses of the vaccine this week — among the first in Washington state to do so.
Whatcom County recorded 66 new confirmed COVID-19 cases and eight new probable cases, according to the Washington State Department of Health Thursday, Dec. 17. No additional deaths were reported for Whatcom County.
Whatcom County now has seen 3,042 confirmed cases, and 52 related deaths during the pandemic, according to state data as of 11:59 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 16. That means that 1.7% of the Whatcom residents who have tested positive for COVID during the pandemic have died.
An additional eight probable cases have been reported in Whatcom County during the pandemic resulting from positive antigen tests, but those cases were not confirmed by a molecular test.
Washington state Gov. Jay Inslee on Thursday unveiled a budget proposal for $57.6 billion in general fund spending and a capital gains tax for the 2021-23 biennium.
The first home test for Covid-19 that doesn’t require a prescription will soon be on U.S. store shelves.
U.S. officials Tuesday authorized the rapid coronavirus test which can be done entirely at home. The announcement by the Food and Drug Administration represents another important — though incremental — step in U.S. efforts to expand testing options.
Gov. Jay Inslee Tuesday unveiled a new climate-change package that includes a renewed push for a clean fuels standard and capping some greenhouse-gas emissions.
Other proposals would further electrify Washington’s ferry fleet and reduce the carbon footprint of buildings, according to Inslee, and bring equity into environmental policy.
Inslee’s plan comes as part of his new two-year budget proposal, and as lawmakers prepare to convene in January for the 2021 legislative session.