March 20 Corona Virus Update

Hot bath, good meal, cuddle, walk outdoors in beauty. Hands in soil to help things grow. What will be will be, but right now there is beauty, and the joy of living. I have a procedure to offer you when you get overwhelmed. When you feel tears nearby in your heart, try this: Focus your attention rigorously on the goodness and beauty of our amazing universe and wonderful planet; and on the goodness of people around you (yes, focus on the ones you know are good!); and lastly on your own goodness and potential for more goodness. Then let the tears fall. When you do it this way, every teardrop that falls is a piece of confusion falling away forever.

“Betsy Brown, MD Update from an Epidemic”
Seattle doctor, trusted source for me.
“… The world has shifted. The past few days have had an uptick in positive tests. Word came in the community of a beloved store owner dying. I spoke with a patient yesterday who had a family member die at home. And then overnight, the results seem to have tripled. The doc on call needed help to reach people… Tough call to send one to the hospital because he was worsening, and I called the ER to let them know he was coming, talking with the ER doc who resignedly told me the hospital is full, that they are holding people in the ER until there is space. And now another patient is coming in for them to care for. I felt like a priest, hearing confession. And then he said: do you know that half of the people in our ICU with COVID-19 are younger than 50?”
From the Whatcom County Health Department website:
Confirmed Case Details:
◦ Female in her 60s
◦ Female in her 40s
◦ Female in her 20s
◦ Male in his 60s
◦ Male in his 40s
◦ Male in his teens
◦ Male in his 50s
Not all these are hospitalized.

Starting Monday, March 23, Bellingham Public Schools will be offering free meals to help students and families who may struggle with food security when schools are closed. We are looking into drive-thru and delivery options.
Based on guidance from the governor’s office and local health officials, we will practice social distancing while offering this service.
Each student will receive two meals: lunch for the day and breakfast for the following day.
Our plan is to provide meals Monday through Friday through the closure, but as we have seen in the past week, plans may change based on access to food, staff and supplies; guidance from the health department; or orders from the governor to prevent COVID-19 from spreading further. This service is possible with the incredible efforts of our food services team and the generosity of Bellingham Public Schools Foundation.

Lighthouse Mission Ministries is moving its emergency Drop-In Center for the homeless to Bellingham High School due to the coronavirus outbreak. The move will help the organization comply with social distancing. The move will take place tomorrow, Friday, March 20. The move is temporary and is a partnership between Lighthouse Mission, the Bellingham School District and Whatcom Unified Command.
Excepted rom Bellingham Herald article. For much more detail, read here:

 We have 2.5 gallon tubs of our various ice creams and sorbets available for purchase at $100 – $120 each. Email if you are interested in arranging a pick up. The tubs are about 10″ in diameter and 10-11″ tall.
 While we sort out the logistics of how Mallard will proceed throughout our community’s current situation, as a start I would say that we still have the ability to make and prepackage ice cream. We also have an assortment of pints that are ready to go right now. It doesn’t make sense for us to sell out of our store front, but to pool orders of 10-12+ among neighborhoods, families, individuals, and friends and arrange pickup or drop off methods that encourage best practices in accordance to state-wide and local authorities. Mallard is pretty low-tech compared to most (pretty much all) other restaurants, so I am not suggesting a same day delivery or pick-up sort of situation out the gate, but more of a distribution model where orders/requests are submitted and picked up or dropped off a day or two later to allow ourselves to figure out how it could all work and at what capacity moving forward. Let us know what we can do for y’all! The best way currently for us to begin to sort this all out is to e-mail via our back of house at and when and if that becomes overwhelming (but also as we move forward) better systems of transaction will be established. I will let you know at the time of ordering what we currently have available and make plans based on your desires to produce runs of specifically requested ice creams and non-dairy options as we go. Thank you and stay safe!
 [Anybody want to pool? ~Fl!p]

March 19 Corona Virus Update

◦ Male in his 60s
◦ Female in her 50s
◦ Male in his 80s
◦ Female in her 60s
◦ Female in her 40s
◦ Female in her 20s
◦ Male in his 60s
◦ Male in his 40s
◦ Male in his teens
◦ Male in his 50s
Thank you for staying home! Our job is not to protect ourselves from catching this. Our job is to assume we have it, and protect others from catching it from us. Since we don’t have sufficient testing, we must assume this is the tip of the iceberg and there will be a flood of “new” cases in the next few days.

My friend and saxophone player extraordinaire, Mark Kelly, sent this email just now:  “Free concert at 3pm today, inside the Elizabeth Park gazebo. My Kid’Sax quartet, playing six feet apart from each other. Bring your chair.”  🙂  Live music!  These kids are very talented.  I will be there!  🙂
 Meredith Ann Murray

Our block was INTO it!!! Lots of noise on Victor Street!!!
 Lizanne Schafer

Are you scared?
“I’m in the age group that has a one in seven mortality rate if I get it. If you’re not worried, you’re not paying attention. But I’m not scared. I firmly believe that the steps that we’re taking will extend the time that it takes for the virus to make the rounds. I think that, in turn, will increase the likelihood that we will have a vaccine or we will have a prophylactic antiviral in time to cut off, reduce, or truncate the spread. Everybody needs to remember: This is not a zombie apocalypse. It’s not a mass extinction event.”
~ Epidemiologist Larry Brilliant
[Now go read the article.]

Do you have a 2 week supply of pet food? A designated person who will care for your pet if you get too sick to do so? Time to set that up. You might want to dig out your pet carrier if your pet would need to be transported. With luck you’ll never need this, but there is peace of mind in being prepared.

I assume we will figure out how to gather by video conferencing.

“Prior to modern disposable masks, washable fabric masks were standard use for hospitals,” said Dawn Rogers, MSN, RN, FNP-C, Patient Safety & Infection Prevention Office.  “We will be able to sterilize these masks and use them repeatedly as needed.  While it’s less than ideal, we want to do our best to protect our staff and patients during this pandemic.” Please consider reaching out to a hospital, nursing home, cancer-related organization, etc. near you, as many other health care facilities are also experiencing shortages in masks.

March 17 Corona Virus update

We’re up to 5 known cases in Whatcom County and 7 in Skagit. Since we have so few tests available, this is unlikely to be at all an accurate picture. People can be infectious without having symptoms. Our current best strategy is to slow down the rate of people catching the virus to keep from overwhelming our hospitals. Please stay home! Go for a walk, but maintain six feet between you and people who don’t live in your household. Use video apps to visit with frie

Dear Food Bank Volunteers,
As you know, Bellingham Food Bank has been closely watching the
developments around the COVID-19 pandemic. Just last night, our governor
banned all gatherings of 50 people or more, and has also shut down all
restaurants and bars. In order to protect our community, we need to be
For this reason, effective tomorrow, March 17th, we are temporarily
suspending our Grocery Rescue Operation. For the foreseeable future we will
no longer pick up any donations from any grocery stores.
This is a difficult decision, but as long as we are picking up donations we
are placing our Grocery Rescue volunteers in harm’s way, and also our
sorting volunteers. If you are a bakery, bread, or non-perishable sorter or
a Grocery Rescue volunteer, your shift is suspended until future notice.
Furthermore, those who are suffering the most from COVID-19 are folks over
the age of 60. Bellingham Food Bank values the help of our volunteers
dearly, but we want to support you all in remaining healthy. For this
reason, if you are over the age of 60, please do not come in for your shift
until further notice.
Other people who shouldn’t come in are those who live with or spend lots of
time with anyone over 60 and/or with people who have compromised health.
And finally, distribution volunteers who are under the age of 60 and are
comfortable coming in: Today we will continue packing boxes of food for
distribution outside. Tomorrow we will plan to distribute boxes from the
back of the trucks at our CTK Satellite.

It would be great if we can help keep our smaller locally-owned stores solvent during this strange time. For example, if you are looking for rice, most stores were out or only had a bag or two on the shelves yesterday. The Asia Market on Meridian has a LOT of rice and they are open. As of this morning, their shelves were stocked with all sorts of noodles, canned fish and meats, rice crackers, seasonings, some Asian vegetables, and of course, delicious Asian food ingredients.
Sherrie Montgomery

The Farmers Market will be closed for a while. This is a good time to sign up for Community Supported Agriculture subscriptions. You pay a set rate and boxes of locally grown produce are delivered weekly to a pick-up point. Consider if your place would be a good pick-up point: under cover, accessible, and not in view of the street. Carport or big porch? This supports our local farmers and brings us fresh produce. It could be another resource that could go on the map project as well.

“For friends who may be stuck at home with their kids, or teachers trying to placate parents – Skype a Scientist is expanding to connect scientists with kids at home! There are over 800 scientists at hand, of many many different disciplines, and all so excited to answer your kid’s questions and provide you at least 30 minutes of relief.”
Millie Johnson

I have been invited to help with a mapping project and could use both techie help and YOUR help. We have experts who will create a dashboard with links to important resources like the Health Department, newspapers, government etc. Also a map on which we can locate and detail hospital situations, pharmacies (drive through?), stores, and anything else we would find useful. For stores, we can detail current open hours, what is and isn’t on the shelves (with date/time/user), traffic if there are closed areas. We could post online events. What I would like to know from all of you is, what would be useful to have on it? And, are there folks on this list who know how to run Google maps and could help with that part? The mapping project experts I met with yesterday (online) have platforms ready to go and will build infrastructure for us to fill in.
Most useful way to contact me is email:
Thank you!

[Looks like I made a mistake – Fl!p}
Bacteria are not viruses. Sunlight while having some minor impact on exposing surfaces to UV light in fighting bacteria growth, has no  bearing on the spread, control or contraction of COvid19. The Medium article offered NO EVIDENCE of any scientific studies, documentation or attribution for their claims. I offer this video from NBC News of a panel of doctors working in Wuhan Province in China sharing their experience and advice. “Failure to prepare is preparedness for failure.”
Ann Shannon

March 16 Corona Virus Update

High Schooler From MI

As of this morning Whatcom County has 3 confirmed cases and 111 negative test results. The case is a woman in her 20s and the Health Department is currently working to identify and advise people who have had close contact with her. On Friday, March 13, a woman in her 40s tested positive for COVID-19 after self-isolating after being notified that she was in close contact with a lab-confirmed positive case from another county, according to a Health Department press release. [From Bellingham Herald]

Gov. Jay Inslee announced that restaurants, bars, health and fitness clubs, entertainment and recreational facilities will be shut down statewide to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus after midnight tonight. Restaurants will be allowed to provide take-out, drive through and delivery services but no in-person dining will be permitted. The ban will not apply to grocery stores and pharmacies. Other retail outlets will have reduced occupancy. Details were not released on the types of retail businesses that would be affected.
[From Bellingham Herald]

Especially items labeled WIC. Parents on WIC can’t choose a different brand of beans or cereal. As long as you can, please do!
Jennifer Karchmer

”Even if they are your parents. And even if they are begging to provide childcare. For the health and safety of the loving grandparents, consider whether it’s possible for your family to find an alternate source of backup childcare,” the health department wrote in a press release Saturday, March 14.
▪ Consider sharing the care of small groups of kids with other neighbors who must work.
▪ Take kids outside to play rather than staying in crowded indoor spaces. Parks remain open and Whatcom’s weather is supposed to return to the 50s after a cold weekend.
▪ Watch for school district news. Some districts are continuing to provide meals and offer on-line learning.
[From Bellingham Herald]

My healthy and active dad lives with me so I had extra precautions to decide where to go out and with whom to socialize. I’m feeling relived today because over the weekend we made a good plan. In addition to washing hands, taking care not to share germs in the house, and social distancing, we will
– choose not to go to group events.
– socialize outside in fresh air.
– before and after socializing,
ask the people we are social with, including partners and their families, to inform us if anyone is sick in any way.
– inform the people we are social with if we develop any symptoms of sickness.
– I will do the grocery shopping (he will not go to places with lots of people).
– get outside for walks or bike rides at least once a day.
Laura Ridenour
Peabody Street

2tbs bleach to 1 quart of water makes a disinfecting solution you can spray on surfaces and food and let dry to disinfect. Food safety and other disinfecting stuff is surprisingly simple. Letting things air dry after getting the bleach treatment is key.

March 15 Corona Virus Update

From Heather Shepherd
Dear Friends,
There is a lot of COVID-19 data floating around out there. Here are some numbers estimated for Whatcom County recently sent. It helped me put this pandemic into perspective. I hope it can do the same for you.
– Number of hospital beds in Whatcom County: 253
– Number of ICU beds in Whatcom County: 24
– St Joesph Medical Center hospital census this last month has ranged from all 253 beds occupied to ~53 hospital beds available (prior to any confirmed COVID-19 cases).
– Number of individuals in Whatcom County greater than 65 years of age: >40,000
– Estimated hospitalization rate for COVID-19 infections: ~15% with “severe illness” (defined as respiratory failure requiring oxygen support).
– Estimated ICU rate for COVID-19 infections: ~5% with“critical illness” (defined as organ failure)
– Average length of stay for hospitalized COVID-19 patients: several weeks
Applying the numbers: If just 1% of our over 65 population becomes infected with COVID-19 in the next week, we can expect the need to hospitalize 60 patients (15%) with “severe illness” and an additional 20 patients (5%) with “critical illness”. As you can see, this already exceeds the supply of hospital and ICU beds in Whatcom County, and we know these ill patients will occupy those beds for weeks. This situation of the hospitals/ICUs being completely overwhelmed by COVID-19 is exactly what is happening in Italy.
As we ride this out remember that we are a community. Practice all the things that are being recommended (social distancing/hand washing/stay home, etc). Take care of one another, practice generosity. Call the elderly. Identify what you have (time, energy, resources) and find a way to safely share it with others.

Someone has created a Google spreadsheet to gather names of people willing to help out their neighbors all across Bellingham, organized by neighborhood:

There is also a Facebook group, also organized by neighborhoods:
ht/t Alex Pandel
You can sign up on either or both, to offer or look for help. I am so delighted!

And here’s an article about similar groups in England, from Marcia Leister:

You don’t have to wait to start contacting your immediate neighbors to organize mutual support on your block. If you don’t have their email or phone, leave a note with your own contact info, ask for theirs, and then share that with everyone who joins in so we can find each other.

If you know someone who is elderly or in frail health, see if you can set up a daily check-in. See if they have relatives who should know how to contact you and vice versa. We’ll all be safer if we knit our community together this way. Interdependence can support independence. We need each other now.

If one person is going to the store anyway, they can pick up stuff for others. We can reimburse each other using PayPal or other internet apps because they are touch-free. We’re all about to learn some new skills, but we can do this!!! You can start right now. You can teach me, and I’ll pass it on.

If anyone has TENTS you could spare, people without shelter could really use them. And a specific request for a pair of really warm women’s boots, size 10. Or men’s size 8. Thank you. You can bring them here to my house.
Fl!p Breskin
2518 Cherry

Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) in Whatcom County
This information will be updated daily at 12:00pm, or sooner if significant developments occur. Last updated: Sunday, March 15, 2020 at 9:32 am
◦ **Confirmed Cases: 2
◦ *Negative Results: 95
◦ Deaths: 0

…Years ago, anthropologist Margaret Mead was asked by a student what she considered to be the first sign of civilization in a culture. The student expected Mead to talk about fishhooks or clay pots or grinding stones.
But no. Mead said that the first sign of civilization in an ancient culture was a femur (thighbone) that had been broken and then healed. Mead explained that in the animal kingdom, if you break your leg, you die. You cannot run from danger, get to the river for a drink or hunt for food. You are meat for prowling beasts. No animal survives a broken leg long enough for the bone to heal.
A broken femur that has healed is evidence that someone has taken time to stay with the one who fell, has bound up the wound, has carried the person to safety and has tended the person through recovery. Helping someone else through difficulty is where civilization starts, Mead said.”
We are at our best when we serve others. Be civilized.
**Ira Byock, in his book The Best Care Possible: A Physician’s Quest to Transform Care Through the End of Life (Avery, 2012)

Names have been streaming in. I am delighted! For those who haven’t yet considered this, I will be hosting a virtual (on-line) meeting for people willing to host their own block (also on-line only) for a Map Your Neighborhood session on helping each other through this emergency together. Email me with your name, address, phone and say it’s for MYN and I’ll get you on a list and email back with possible times. Right now I’m getting some additional training specific to epidemics. But soon!

It is a calculated risk to bring people together. Yet there are parents who must go to work in health care, groceries or other critical services. Try to keep your sharing circles compact. Families sharing care will want to consider and keep track of whether anyone in their group has been exposed. Check the new Helper lists at the top of today’s Update to offer or seek help.

I don’t know whether any of this will come through or not, but it may be worth checking. State government structures & employees are scrambling to try to meet our needs. Be kind to them please.

ESD’s Paid Family and Medical Leave program can provide paid leave benefits for Washington workers who need to take time off from work due to a serious health condition or to care for a family member with a serious health condition. Certification by a healthcare provider is required for applications for Paid Family and Medical Leave due to a serious health condition. Visit: • I

Some people who are losing significant hours without paid time leave due to CoVid-19 might be able to go online to file a claim for partial unemployment benefits. Or call 800-318-6022.

This is someone to follow for real, compassionate, accurate information from the trenches. “This is truly not about you getting exposed, but your responsibility to not give it to someone else.”

Oh my dear neighbors! You’ve been magnificent. Yesterday morning my front entry was filled by an amazing stream of neighbors and friends bearing sleeping bags, coats, hats, gloves, warm socks, beautiful hand-knit hats and scarves and sweaters, everything you could think of and spare. And cash donations – almost $350! Jana came and picked it all up around noon and crammed it in her car. And I do mean crammed! Trunk, backseat, everywhere but just room to squish in the driver. Jana took it to Shari, who got tearful, and then went and bought tarps with a bunch of the cash and handed your gifts out today, with tarps to wrap around the sleeping bags to help cut the bitter wind. THANK YOU!
If you didn’t yet contact our city and county government to ask for emergency shelters to be opened, it would still be useful. You can still bring things here, and Jana will pick them up.

From the Center for Disease Control’s “Show Me the Science — How to Wash Your Hands”:
Wet your hands with clean, running water (warm or cold), turn off the tap, and apply soap.
Why? Because hands could become recontaminated if placed in a basin of standing water that has been contaminated through previous use, clean running water should be used. However, washing with non-potable water when necessary may still improve health. The temperature of the water does not appear to affect microbe removal; however, warmer water may cause more skin irritation and is more environmentally costly. Turning off the faucet after wetting hands saves water, and there are few data to prove whether significant numbers of germs are transferred between hands and the faucet.

We live in a culture that idolizes action and struggle, gun-slingers and ass-kickers. But gun-slingers are no use today, if they ever were. You know who’s going to make a difference in this crisis, who’s going to save lives? The patient, the cautious, the careful, the caring, the steadfast, the nervous, the slightly obsessive, the checkers and double-checkers, the cooks, the cleaners, the good neighbors, the kid wranglers, the meal deliverers, the errand runners, the wash-your-hands naggers, the care-givers, the home schoolers, the late-night tale tellers, and the chicken soup makers.
I see you. You are my people. This could be our finest hour.
Rosalind Reynolds

From Victor Street neighbor Greg Hope, who works in emergency management.

The Washington State Department of Health has established a call center to address questions from the public. If you have questions about what is happening in Washington state, how the virus is spread, and what to do if you have symptoms, please call 1-800-525-0127 and press #.  Open 7 days, 6 AM to 10 PM. [I talked with them yesterday and they did their best to help. ~Fl!p]

I’m looking at Passover Over The Internet this year. Since I subscribed to Zoom for a year, I can lead my big family gathering this way. I love my family and want them to stay home. Not just to protect themselves, but even more, to protect Everyone.


March 13 Corona Virus Update

“Here is the thing to understand about flattening the curve.
It only works if we take necessary measures before they seem necessary.
And if it works, people will think we over-reacted.
We have to be willing to look like we over-reacted.”
Kaila Colbin

Whatcom County still has only one confirmed case as of today, Friday March 13, at 4:45. Staying home is how we keep the numbers low. In-person City Of Bellingham governmental meetings will be limited to 10 or fewer participants. It would be good if almost all of us followed that guideline. There are people who really can’t. Ask yourself if you are really one of them. A Lummi Indian Business Council employee has tested positive for COVID-19, but they live in King County so you can start breathing again for the moment. Their contacts are being traced. We’re wishing them luck and health.

From the Bellingham Herald
The closure will include all public and private schools for levels K through 12 in every district across the state, Inslee said, and will must begin by Tuesday, March 17, and will extend through April 24.
Inslee said a restriction also will be placed on all colleges, universities, community colleges and technical schools, preventing in-person education on campus.
Inslee said he made the decision after statewide confirmed coronavirus positive tests climbed by more than 400 in four days and deaths in the state climbed to 37 on Friday. He added that COVID-19 has spread to 15 of the state’s counties that combine to represent 75% of the state’s population.
Bellingham Public Schools announced that it would begin the closure a day earlier than Inslee mandated on Monday, March 16. The Blaine, Lynden, Nooksack Valley, Meridian and Mount Baker districts said they also will be closed Monday. Ferndale will close Tuesday.
I phoned the district earlier today. They’re working on the challenges as hard as they possibly can, including how to continue meals for hungry students. Here’s a link to the most current info:
From Bellingham Public Schools:
Everyone, please keep in mind that this is an unprecedented situation and we, along with hundreds of school systems across the country, are working hard to plan and communicate. We ask that you please hold on emailing questions to teachers and other staff. As questions arise, please consult webpage and the links on it. District staff will follow up with you as soon as possible. The decision to close raises all kinds of questions and implications including childcare needs for our staff and families, school meals, graduation, and much more. We are working on plans to address a range of impacts, and we will be in communication as we work through these challenges. We are also working with our community partners to determine how to best mitigate the impact of our closure.

As of 4:45 today, March 13, 2020
◦ 1 ◦ The total number of confirmed cases (test results that are positive for COVID-19).
◦ 35 ◦ The total number of negative results (test results that are negative for COVID-19).
◦ 0 ◦ Total number of deaths due to COVID-19.

Please contact the Mayor’s Office <> and County Executive’s Office <> to ask for their help. The city has not reopened the emergency shelters despite the freezing weather. We know governments are overwhelmed right now, but this is one of the urgent issues. The cold weather will not wait. The remaining shelters are jammed such that social distancing is not possible. We have night time temperatures in the low 30s and wind chill factors into the teens. Those among us who have no shelter are at high risk of the pandemic as well as the weather. Please donate good gloves, sleeping bags and blankets, warm coats, socks, hats, and money. Donations can be brought to my house, or call me and I’ll help you figure out how to connect. 360-671-4511. Thank you to the people who have brought me warm supplies!

There are folks willing to pick up groceries and such. Let me know if you need stuff, and I’ll pass the word to them.

“Here is the thing to understand about flattening the curve.
It only works if we take necessary measures before they seem necessary.
And if it works, people will think we over-reacted.
We have to be willing to look like we over-reacted.”
Kaila Colbin

March 12 Corona Virus Update

Since some families may be taking elders out of institutions and suddenly dealing with complicated care issues, I would be willing to loan equipment I acquired while caring for a family member.  Our main issues were 1) balance and fall risk, intermittent loss of walking ability and 2) memory loss
So I have:
1) walkers, transport chair, transport chair that can climb stairs but needs new batteries, 8 foot 80 pound aluminum foldable wheelchair ramp, mattress alarms that beep when a person gets out of bed, baby monitors, pneumatic lift to get a person up after a fall without hurting yourself if the person is not seriously hurt but cannot get up, electric chair that goes up and down in bathtub and can also help get a person off the floor, button that can be used to beep for help in another part of the house or maybe next door.
2) web based nanny cams, you would have to arrange and pay for the service, also a one button telephone that a cognitively limited person can use to telephone you for help.
Some of the items might also be useful for monitoring individuals in quarantine.
Mary Anne Pultz
Victor Street
Please leave message at 360 738 1633

Snow & power outages are possible. We have night time temperatures in the low 30s and wind chill factors into the teens. It will warm up into the high 30s and mid-40s during the day and plunge again at night. Once again, those among us who have no shelter are at high risk. Please donate good gloves, sleeping bags and blankets, warm coats, socks, hats, and money. Donations can be brought to my house, or call me and I’ll help you figure out how to connect. 360-671-4511.

The open playtime at Immanuel Bible Church will not be held this Friday, March 13

We have a portable aluminum wheelchair ramp here. Also Mom’s alert buttons. We could loan them if someone needs them right now.

Whatcom County still has only one confirmed case as of this morning. Nineteen under investigation, and 18 negatives. The test does not appear to yield false positives, though it can yield false negatives. But fingers crossed, we may be doing well.

How canceled events and self-quarantines save lives, in one chart:
Our big job is to slow down contagion. One difficulty is that we are contagious before symptoms show, so the best move is for everyone to stay home. Let friends know if you get sick, and phone for medical help if it gets hard to breathe. We lack hospital capacity for managing masses of people with severe pneumonia. Please stay home if you possibly can. If you’ve got to go out, offer to pick up stuff for your neighbors. We need to plan for the worst and hope for the best.
Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy was my source for “contagion before symptoms show.” They also say data generally backs a 2-week quarantine.

World Health Organization refutes viral claims that holding your breath can test for COVID-19. Facebook posts shared thousands of times a claim that holding your breath for more than 10 seconds is an effective test for the novel coronavirus, and that drinking water regularly can prevent the disease. The claims are false; the World Health Organization and other experts said there was no evidence to support these claims.

One other thing to add to Carol’s info about the health exchange’s SEP… The Office of the Insurance Commissioner has used Inslee’s declaration of emergency to create an emergency order that health insurance carriers who are regulated through the state of WA must cover COVID-19 testing with no cost shares (copays, deductibles, coinsurance). Those who test positive (or just need additional treatment) will still have cost shares for any treatment rendered, but the test itself should be covered. Insured individuals should confirm with their carrier – some out of state plans may have exclusions, while Medicare plans are overseen on a federal level and not by the state.
Laurel Larsen
(Licensed insurance producer)
Eldridge Ave

A kind couple have reached out to say that they’re willing to do shopping runs for our elderly and immune-compromised neighbors in Columbia. For now, contact me, fl! I’ll pass you on to them, just to make sure they don’t get overwhelmed. What a wonderful offer!

The Whatcom Council on Aging is cancelling all Bellingham Senior Activity Center programs and closing the facility beginning March 12th until further notice. While we have not been instructed to close we feel it is our responsibility to protect our at-risk population by limiting interaction at this time.
Congregate Lunch Program (Senior Community Meals)
The regular congregate lunch program will close until further notice. The Whatcom Council on Aging’s Meals on Wheels and More program is committed to ensuring seniors are able to access nutritious food during this very difficult time. Bellingham Senior Activity Center and our partner senior centers will provide meals for pick up during regular scheduled lunch hours. Please call your local senior center for details.
Meals on Wheels
There are currently no changes to the Meals on Wheels Program.  Meals on Wheels program will continue regular hot and frozen meal delivery for Meals on Wheels clients as long as staffing and volunteer capacity allows. If you are age 60 or older, homebound, and in need of meals please call 360-746-6480 or complete a request form at
Bellingham  360-733-4030

Arne Hanna Aquatic Center: Risk of in-water transmission is low, but crowded locker rooms and large groups in enclosed spaces such as the Aquatic Center spectator area should be avoided. All instructional programs will be cancelled. Passes will be put on hold until April 30th and extended the same number of days as the request was made. All large, City sponsored, public events will be cancelled through April 30. Participants in all operational programs will be notified and given the option for a full refund.

Public Works renews request during COVID-19 response. Even  so-called flushable wipes need to go in the trash
The first official case of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) has been confirmed in Whatcom County. The County Executive has declared a public health emergency and today the Governor announced community protection strategies.  The City of Bellingham has plans in place to ensure the continuity of essential services, including water delivery and wastewater removal. Utility customers have a role to pay, as well.  To protect oneself and help prevent the spread of this new virus it is important to wash hands with soap and water, stay home if ill, and sanitize frequently touched surfaces. For those who use sanitary wipes for this cleaning, it is important to know that “there is no such thing as a ‘flushable’ wipe.”
Eric Johnston, Bellingham’s interim Public Works director, says it is important for the effective continuity of the City’s sewage treatment process to keep those wipes out of the waste stream. “Wipes have to be pulled out of the City’s wastewater during collection and treatment – they plug up the whole system,” said Johnston. “Please just put them directly into the trash, as that’s where they will end up.”

The first confirmed case of CoVid-19 was announced today on the Whatcom Health Department website. Fourteen tests are pending. The website in updated each day at noon, and immediately if anything has changed.
The Bellingham Herald has removed it’s paywall from articles about the virus.

Please stay home if you can.

For more information
This is an emerging outbreak with rapidly evolving information. Updates will be made as new information emerges on the DOH website and Whatcom County Health Department’s website. The Washington State Department of Health has established a call center to address questions from the public. If you have questions about what is happening in Washington state, how the virus is spread, and what to do if you have symptoms, please call 1-800-525-0127 and press #. You can also follow DOH & Whatcom County on social media.

March 11 Corona Virus Update

The first confirmed case of CoVid-19 was announced today on the Whatcom Health Department website. Fourteen tests are pending. The website in updated each day at noon, and immediately if anything has changed.
The Bellingham Herald has removed it’s paywall from articles about the virus.

Please stay home if you can.

For more information
This is an emerging outbreak with rapidly evolving information. Updates will be made as new information emerges on the DOH website and Whatcom County Health Department’s website. The Washington State Department of Health has established a call center to address questions from the public. If you have questions about what is happening in Washington state, how the virus is spread, and what to do if you have symptoms, please call 1-800-525-0127 and press #. You can also follow DOH & Whatcom County on social media.

If you’re planning on going to an event, it’s a good idea to double-check that it hasn’t been cancelled. And if it has, and you can afford to, you might donate to the artists or event because it means they’ve lost their income stream. We’d like to have them back in the future! And please let me know of cancellations. Zeke and I cancelled our tour to Oregon at the end of this month. Our hosts are willing to reschedule in the future.
Consider donating to your favorite restaurants and other businesses as well, to help them survive this outbreak.

March 5 Neighborhood Update

SU student seeking access to a dark room
Seattle University is going to online classes secondary to COVID-19 concerns.
My daughter is returning home for the rest of the quarter but would like to develop/process her film for her photography class.
All supplies used will be paid for.
360-303-6821 or
2212 Victor ST

Maple Alley Inn, a program of Opportunity Council, prepares and serves hot meals to anybody who walks in the door. Volunteers grow food for the program at Faith Community Garden (next door to Faith Lutheran Church that hosts two of the meals), as much as 4000 pounds a year.
Volunteers participate in one or more of several weekly work parties, each lasting about two hours. Experience is not necessary; enthusiasm and a desire to help people is. Our volunteers range from Master Gardener and Master Composter to novices wanting to learn about gardening; from near-octogenarians to several who won’t be eligible for a driver’s license for about 10 years.
We are currently harvesting lettuce, spinach and bok choi, grown under cover, and preparing beds for beets, chard, cucumbers, tomatoes and other summer crops.
If you would like to join us, or learn more, please email me at, or call at 360 647 5770.
Ed Wood
Garden Manager, Maple Alley Inn

My husband and I are looking for a recommended house cleaner.  We seem to be working too much and don’t want to spend our precious weekend time catching up on chores!
~ 3 hours week. We have one dog and 2 cats that they’ll need to work around.
Debbie Alleman
360-739-4406 (cell)
Elizabeth Street

March 5 Corona Virus Update

You might want to check in with your neighbors to see if anyone is particularly vulnerable to the virus. Safety could be as simple as a single daily text back and forth, and if the text doesn’t happen, a phone check-in. And if that doesn’t work, call for medical assistance for them. If everybody on your block has a buddy (and it doesn’t have to be you) we’ll all be much better prepared.

If you know folks who live in elder residences, this is a good time to phone them (or see if you can set up a video visit). Elder housing complexes are desperate to prevent transmission, as they should be. But the folks who live there can be stuck in their apartments or rooms and it can get boring and lonely. I remember when my folks lived at the Willows. They’d get locked down by some bug that someone had caught somewhere in the complex, for sometimes up to a week. My folks would go out of their minds. Do NOT go visit in person but it’s a good time to check in. And the same goes for any elderly or immunocompromised neighbors. Or far flung family and friends. It’s a good time to connect!

From the incomparable Tom Noddy: Solid, understandable information
Soap and detergent molecules are odd.
One end of a soap molecule is a lot like grease, it doesn’t like water, it’s “hydrophobic”.
But the other end of soap molecules are “hydrophilic” they like water (they are attracted to water molecules, electrically, like when your socks are attracted to the other clothes in the drier).
So, unlike grease, soap goes into solution with water when each molecule works to attach itself to a nearby water molecule.
But meanwhile, the end that doesn’t like water is looking for some place to go to get away from the water. Everywhere it turns there is more water and water repels that end of the soap or detergent molecule … where can it go to get away from the water?
Well, if you can then offer it something, maybe something non-watery, maybe something dirty or greasy, then the end of the soap molecule that doesn’t like water can attach itself to the grease to get away from the water.
For the soap, that’s a perfect solution, the end that likes water is attached to a water molecule and the end that doesn’t is now attached to grease.
If you wipe it a bit then the soap molecules can and do completely surround the grease (and any germs (bacteria, viruses, fungi, and protozoa) that might be stuck to the grease). Then you can float that stuff away in the flood of soapy water.
So, no … soap doesn’t disinfect … it doesn’t kill virus but it can vastly lower the accumulation of them from your skin and remove the hiding places that could otherwise hold virus close.
A 60% alcohol solution is useful between the times that you can get yourself to soap and water but all of that alcohol is going to wreak havoc with your skin and it’s going to kill the good and bad bacteria and rework the ecosystem each time.
The first line of defense really is washing with soap (or detergent) and water.

From someone I know and have confidence in.

Thursday, March 26 6:00-7:30pm
Fireplace Conference Room
625 Halleck Street, Bellingham
This is a meeting for potential hosts. I have decided to postpone the meeting I had planned for next weekend and let folks go to this one instead. For more information, contact Victor Street neighbor Greg Hope at or 360-778-8443.