Two-week tally of new cases may hit 90 in next week, well below state’s 

   WHATCOM ­— On Monday, the local COVID two-week infection rate stood at a moderate 50.6. Now expect it to rise — sharply.

  The data being used were of Oct. 20 through Nov. 2. The data that were as-yet incomplete on the Whatcom County Health Department website showed a steep climb a-coming. If that pattern bears out in reality, the two-week rate will get above 90.

  The two-week rate had already risen to 62.6 as of Tuesday, Nov. 17.

  Still, the Whatcom rate was well below the statewide two-week rate of almost 200 on Tuesday.

  For about a month, the county appeared to be bucking the statewide and national trends of a surge in new cases of COVID-19. And in truth this third wave of the coronavirus may be somewhat weaker locally than elsewhere. But it is here.

  The main rate is a calculation of the number of new infections of coronavirus per 100,000 population over a preceding two-week period.

  A one-week basis of measure projects a sharper climb in infections. On Monday, that number of confirmed new cases of COVID-19 in  Whatcom in the preceding week was 71. On Tuesday, it was 90.

  The overall numbers for the pandemic in Whatcom County are now: 1,914 confirmed cases, 119 hospitalizations and 52 deaths. The county’s population is 225,300.

  There have been no COVID deaths in Whatcom since Oct. 15. There were five COVID patients hospitalized on Tuesday.

  In terms of the four metrics being used in Washington to determine any county’s readiness to move forward, Whatcom slipped to passing on just one of them on Tuesday. That was a tally of  2% of all hospital beds (under 10%) occupied by COVID patients.

  But Whatcom’s positive rate on testing over the past week rose to 2% when it should be under 2%. Also not passing were the infection rate and a high percent of hospital beds overall occupied, 82.4%, when the goal is to be under 80% to have enough admittance capacity.

  When broken down by school districts, these were the latest two-week infection rates, much higher, updated Tuesday, for the period Nov. 1-14:

Ferndale, 170

Bellingham, 129

Lynden, 119

Nooksack Valley, 108

Blaine, 63

Meridian, 56

Mount Baker, 51