Since COVID-19 arrived in a measurable way last March, Whatcom Unified Command (WUC) has been working to provide an integrated, coordinated, multi-jurisdictional response in partnership with the Whatcom County Health Department.
Over the past five months, volunteers have been vital in the work to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 as WUC developed an Isolation and Quarantine facility, began providing food bank support and developed mobile testing options, among other tasks. As the number of positive cases continue to increase, so has the need for volunteers.
- Help with phone registration for people requiring COVID testing;
- Checking in those who arrive at the mobile testing sites for testing;
- Stock food bank shelves and load food bank boxes;
- Assist with traffic control at food bank distribution sites;
- Deliver food bank boxes to people throughout Whatcom County who cannot or should not go to the food banks (through August);
- Provide licensed medical support; and
- Other needs, as they develop.
Volunteers should be able to commit for several hours per week and, ideally, for several weeks or months. They will have the option of trying out different positions. WUC volunteers are considered “emergency workers” providing essential support. They will receive background checks, training, and will be provided with personal protective equipment (PPE) as needed. For the protection of those served, volunteers adhere to social distancing and mask protocols.
Since the pandemic reached this community, WUC has relied on professionals on loan from their employers along with volunteers to implement objectives based on WUC’s priorities: life safety; continuity of government; essential social services; and economic impacts. As Whatcom County entered Phase 2 of Safe Start, many partner agencies have had to recall their staff from WUC service, which has increased the need for volunteer support.
“COVID-19 has impacted all of Whatcom County, and a community-wide effort is required to minimize and mitigate those impacts,” said Scott McCreery, Incident Commander for Whatcom Unified Command. “WUC volunteers act as force multipliers, increasing the capability and effectiveness of our public health and social service partner agencies, such as the Whatcom County Health Department, community Food Banks and others.
“If ever there was a time for neighbors to help one another, that time is now,” said McCreery.
This information is also available as a pdf.
Amy Cloud, Public Information Officer
Joint Information Center
Whatcom Unified Command
(360) 318 – 4356