County Councilman Tyler Byrd full text of statement on corona-19 Outbreak.
“I am angered and disappointed today as I learn that we have
a significant COVID-19 outbreak at Shuksan Healthcare, a nursing home facility, here in Whatcom County. For several weeks, members of the Whatcom County Council and Health Board have repeatedly asked that we assist all senior facilities in Whatcom County to be prepared.
After the outbreak at Evergreen Nursing Home in Kirkland and the significant amount of information provided by the CDC and World Health Organization, it should have been clear to all that immediate actions needed to be taken to protect our seniors.
After countless meetings, emails, and direct conversations, the County Executive’s office and Health Department have continued to ignore our pleas. They have actively prevented us, and all other elected officials, from receiving critical information. They have refused to take the necessary precautions and to swiftly prepare our community.
If the Executive had taken the actions requested, this unfortunate situation might have very likely been avoided.
As of today, I am publicly requesting the support of all other elected officials in Whatcom County and our community. Please join me in asking Executive Sidhu and the Whatcom County Health Department take the following immediate actions:
1) Establish that all nursing and senior facilities have immediate access to the necessary protective equipment, food & medical supplies, enhanced screening guidelines, and trained staff.
These are private organizations, but this is a public health emergency. Facilities should not need to resort to social media, to find the necessary materials to ensure the health of their residents and staff are protected. It is our duty as the County, to support them during this time and guarantee that they have access to all necessary items.
2) Make all information related to any confirmed or suspected case of COVID-19 available to first responders and all local elected officials.
We must ensure that every one of our health care providers and first responders is prepared when responding to a call. Hiding this information puts them, their families, coworkers, and patients at risk.
3) Immediately establish a dedicated testing facility where any member of the community can be tested and receive prompt results.
We need the ability for people in our community to know whether they have COVID-19 or not. This will help them to understand when they should take additional precautions to protect their families, coworkers, and neighbors.
4) Immediately establish a secondary hospital location dedicated to caring for COVID-19 patients.
This will ensure that we have additional surge capacity in place if there is a broader outbreak locally. We can not wait until we have no room in the hospital to take this action. Nor should we rely solely on a single private entity to be prepared for us.
5) Require that all possible cases are reported to the County Health Department and that we have a process for ensuring those individuals adhere to isolation standards.
This will allow us to establish a support system and provide food and other medications as necessary. It will also allow us to monitor the individual’s health and ensure they receive the proper treatment and support.
I want to be clear that I am NOT referring to the newly establish unified command team, first responders, Sheriff’s department, or volunteers who have been working to find positive solutions to this crisis. While the Executive delayed establishing this group for weeks, they have since worked around the clock to swiftly support our community. We all appreciate their effort and support.
If you agree and would like to see the Executive proactively address these issues and this emergency, please send an email to:
County Executive Satpal Sidhu – SSidhu@whatcomcounty.us
County Council – firstname.lastname@example.org
Together we can support our community. Together we will make a difference.
Whatcom County Council”