The top objectives for Whatcom Unified Command (WUC) are to prevent and mitigate the spread of COVID-19 and to provide for the most vulnerable members of the community. To that end, WUC is working to establish a facility for isolation and quarantine for those who cannot safely remain in their homes or who may not have the resources to stay safe.
Isolation is for people who are actively experiencing symptoms of the virus but do not require hospitalization. Quarantine is for healthy individuals who have been exposed to a confirmed case of COVID-19 but are not currently showing symptoms.
WUC has identified a facility that could accept both those who must be in isolation or quarantine, but do not have the ability to isolate or quarantine because of their living situation. WUC, a multi-jurisdictional coordinated response to COVID-19 within Whatcom County, has several partners on this facility including the City of Bellingham.
“Every action we are taking together is intended to limit the spread of COVID-19,” Bellingham Mayor Seth Fleetwood said. “This is a time-critical need. The availability of this facility – for anyone who needs it – is essential to our response to this crisis.”
On Monday, April 6, on the recommendation of WUC, County Executive Satpal Sidhu signed a contract with owners of Motel 6, on Byron Avenue in Bellingham, for use of the motel as an isolation and quarantine facility. The motel is currently vacant and for sale.
The motel setting is ideal for use as an isolation and quarantine facility: each unit has its own direct entry and includes a private bathroom and bed. Once WUC has secured the facility, it will be operated by partner agencies which will provide meals, laundry and janitorial services. The facility will be staffed by case managers from Sea Mar Community Health Center and Lighthouse Mission Ministries.
The Bellingham-based isolation and quarantine facility should open the week of April 12. The plan is to establish more facilities elsewhere in the county as need and resources align.
Those who wish to donate to this effort or the broader unified COVID-19 response should contact WUC_Donations@co.whatcom.wa.us.