Man in 60s had tested positive, was in hospital

   BELLINGHAM — On Thursday, March 19, a Whatcom County resident who tested positive for COVID-19 died. The individual was a male in his 60s.
  It was the first death from the novel coronavirus to be recorded in Whatcom County.
  “Our sympathies go to his family and friends.” said Greg Stern, Whatcom County health officer. “It is deeply saddening to lose a member of our community in this way.”
  The individual was a patient at PeaceHealth St. Joseph Medical Center. PeaceHealth confirmed that proper respiratory precautions were used by caregivers during his admission and care.
  The Whatcom County Health Department is working to identify all those who may have come in contact with this confirmed case. Close contacts may include family members, co-workers, emergency responders and others. These people will be closely monitored for symptoms to avoid further spread of the virus.
  Whatcom was at seven confirmed cases of the coronavirus on March 19, but had had no deaths until this one was reported after 5 p.m. Sixty of Washington state’s 74 deaths have been in King County.
  Public health authorities say that while most cases of COVID-19 are mild to moderate, approximately 15% of people infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 will have serious illness.
  “It is vitally important that people are taking steps to protect our family members, friends and neighbors from this infection,” stated the Whatcom County Health Department. “Everyone should stay home as much as possible and limit their exposure to others. If you are at risk for severe disease, it is especially important to take the necessary steps to limit potential exposure. Vulnerable individuals should stay home as much as possible.
  “This is an emerging outbreak with rapidly evolving information,” the Health Department repeats.
  Updates are made as new information is available on the Whatcom County Health Department website ( and the Washington State coronavirus website (
  Questions for WCHD can also be emailed to