Dear Campus Community,
A student who attends Western’s Bellingham campus has tested positive for COVID-19. The Whatcom County Health Department has confirmed that the patient is a female in her 20s who lives off-campus in Bellingham.
The test was administered at the Student Health Center. We are collaborating closely with the Whatcom County Health Department. We will follow the Health Department’s instructions and guidance in every step of our response and continue to communicate fully and frequently as we know more.
COVID-19 cases are increasing, and there is currently risk to all community members, which is increased in a public setting or large gathering. Testing availability is still limited, and there is no specific treatment for the illness; those with mild illness may safely forego testing and self-isolate until 72 hours after the fever is gone and symptoms, such as coughing or shortness of breath, get better. Information on how to care for this illness can be found at the CDC website.
Our response as a community to this news will be crucial. We can impact the transmission of coronavirus by staying home as much as possible, using good hand hygiene, and taking good care of ourselves and others.
If you are feeling anxious, remember your resources. Students can call the Counseling Center at 360-650-3164, or text or call the SAMHSA Disaster Distress Helpline: 800-985-5990 or text TalkWithUs to 66746 (TTY 1-800-846-8517). Employees can call the Employee Assistance Program 24/7 at 877-313-4455 (TDD/TYY via WA Relay at 711). Manage your social media and screen time so that they don’t contribute to your stress. Rest, eat healthy foods, and stay hydrated. The CDC’s webpage on stress has excellent advice and links, and this Harvard health blog has others.
Viruses do not discriminate. It is especially important that we actively work against the anti-Asian bias connected with COVID-19. There is no racial or ethnic dimension to this illness. We are a community of care and support, and we need everyone working together to meet this challenge. We have an opportunity to rise to our best and highest capacities now and in the coming weeks, and to lead wherever we are with compassion and strength.
With appreciation for your partnership,
Vice President for Enrollment and Student Services
The Incident Command System team at Western has established three goals for all of our preparation and response to COVID-19: to protect life safety and minimize the spread of the coronavirus illness, to maintain – as much as possible – the continuity of Western’s operations, and to communicate with our communities as fully as possible.
Western's coronavirus information website features Frequently Asked Questions; has links to campus, regional and national resources; an archive of campus messaging and media stories about coronavirus; a new toll-free campus coronavirus information line, and more. The site is a living document, and will get frequent updates as the coronavirus situation evolves.