Six weeks after Whatcom Unified Command (WUC) was activated to provide an integrated, coordinated, multi-jurisdictional response to COVID-19, the organization is re-tooling to be able to meet essential needs during the anticipated lengthy run of this novel coronavirus.
From the outset, WUC has been led by a dozen Incident Commanders (IC) rotating through the assignment. The IC’s included representatives of law enforcement, fire departments, the health department and local government. It has become clear that COVID response will be lengthy and it would be unsustainable for a dozen leaders to remain away from their agencies. To allow them to return to regular work, WUC has restructured to allow leadership by one IC and deputy. Going forward, Scott McCreery, who most recently served as a Planning Section chief, will be IC with Andy Day, of the Bellingham Fire Department, as Deputy.
The Whatcom County Health Department will also remain a key leader in WUC, as it has been since the beginning of the community’s response to this public health crisis.
Since WUC activated on March 16, combining with a Whatcom County Health Department Incident Command team, more than 300 volunteers and professionals from municipal and county government, area industries, school districts, and law enforcement among others, as well as Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) volunteers has delivered a comprehensive response.
Over the past two months, WUC has worked rapidly to:
- Activate a safe distancing drop-in center for those without shelter;
- Establish Food Bank delivery;
- Set up donations protocol and facilities;
- Develop the first Isolation and Quarantine facility, with plans for more if needed;
- Partner with PeaceHealth St. Joseph, other healthcare providers, and representatives of skilled nursing facilities to ensure care for ill and vulnerable populations;
- Research, write and disseminate news, information and video PSAs with COVID instruction.
- Build the WhatcomCOVID.com website and Whatcom Unified Command COVID-19 Facebook page to complement the Whatcom County Health Department website and social media to provide daily updated information from subject matter experts and the most credible sources.
All work and assignments from the WUC are to achieve the key objectives: to prevent and mitigate the spread of COVID-19; provide for the community’s most vulnerable; ensure resource for first responders; maintain essential services; monitor and respond to community needs including economic impact.
Questions about WUC can be directed to WUC_News@co.whatcom.wa.us.