On Wednesday in Everson a crew supplies pre-registered volunteers with what they need to cut out the vinyl pads that will be used to create emergency cots for the COVID-19 fight. (Calvin Bratt/Lynden Tribune) 

Whatcom coronavirus deaths at nine

  WHATCOM ­— One after another on Wednesday, April 1, vehicles rolled up in front of the Criterion Athletic building to receive materials needed to help build cots for the coronavirus fight.

  With a clipboard in hand keeping track of who was doing this service was Brian Davidson. The operator of both Criterion and Christensen Net Works has retooled his Everson floor space to produce the parts for these low-cost emergency beds.

  Also helping out Wednesday was the Lynden company Northwest Professional Services by providing disinfecting of the components for the cot-making both before and after going to the volunteers.

  This was the system, as rapidly put together by the partners: Volunteers picked up materials — rolls of vinyl sheeting, a template, and a square and straight-edge, if needed — starting at 3 p.m., observing social-distancing rules and being directed by Everson police. Upon cutting the sheeting at home, it would be returned to the Everson plant, after another disinfecting, for final assembly into kits including simple steel framing.

  The volunteers’ input was expected to take about 4-5 hours in each instance.

  Davidson said he got thinking early on about what his business might be able to do in the emerging COVID-19 crisis. The cots idea emerged. 

  “We realized the need to anticipate the likely surge in demand for accommodating a large number of people in an emergency situation,” he said in a press release.

  Northwest owner Doug Broersma donated his staff’s time for the whole professional cleaning aspect.

  It happened that Dr. Ming Lin, until recently an emergency room doctor with PeaceHealth in Bellingham, was on site and giving his endorsement of the rapid readiness mobilization. “This is great. This is what I envisioned,” he said.

  • “Save Pipes, Don’t Flush Wipes” is the quick caution from the Ferndale Public Works Department that could be echoed across the country.

  This is the message: “With the uptick in cleaning and sanitation, many of you are flushing wipes down into our sewer system. Please stop. There is no such thing as a flushable wipe. These materials do not break down and will clog our pump stations, causing serious damage to our utilities.”

  Only toilet paper is made to be flushed down a toilet. 

  Not made for sewage disposal (trash instead) are: paper towels, disinfecting wipes, baby wipes, towellettes and mop refills.

  With any questions, contact Ferndale Public Works at 360-384-4006.

  • The Whatcom County death count related to the COVID-19 coronavirus was at nine as of noon Thursday, April 2, up one from a day earlier. 

  The number of confirmed cases in the county was at 175 as of Thursday, up 31 from Wednesday. The total of negative tests for the virus was  at 747.

  The Whatcom numbers seemed to show some slowing of the COVID-19 impact locally.

  Statewide accounting was updated only to midnight March 31, under a new slower reporting system. To that point Washington had 247 COVID-19 deaths, with 165 of those being in King County, and 5,984 total cases. 

  In the three days of March 29-31 there were 52 deaths, although the state’s coronavirus posting also said data was incomplete on some cases.

  Statewide, the positive rate from COVID-19 testing was 8%. Five small or remote counties of Washington’s 39 still had not reported a single case of coronavirus.

  • A second week of unemployment insurance claims confirmed the economic devastation the COVID-19 coronavirus has wrought.

  Reported Thursday, April 2, new claims for the week of March 22-28, soared to a record 181,975, according to the Washington State Employment Security Department. This represents a 3,513% increase compared to 2019, and a 41% increase over the previous week.

  By comparison also, the current numbers are seven times the peak week of the 2008-09 “Great Recession” — 26,075 weekly new claims. Including the ongoing weekly claims that were filed, ESD saw roughly 350,000 claims come into its claims center last week.

  “This virus is having a profoundly negative impact on our economic health, and Washington businesses and workers are hurting like never before,” said Employment Security Commissioner Suzi LeVine. “Thus far, we have put more than $67M into people’s pockets and into the Washington state economy since the start of the COVID crisis ­— between March 15 and March 28. This weekly amount will only grow as we expect weekly new claims to rise even further.”