Find information about symptoms, how to prevent illness, self-care, and getting medical care at Unity Care NW.


Please note: vaccine supply remains low at UNCW. Please do not call to inquire about vaccine appointments. Our phone system is overwhelmed at this critical time. Appointments are required in order to receive a vaccination, but we are contacting eligible patients to schedule vaccinations as we receive more vaccine. Thank you for your patience.

What is Coronavirus?

There are many different strains of coronavirus. The common cold is a type of coronavirus. Some types can cause mild illness, while previous strains, such as the one that caused the SARS outbreak in 2003, are more serious.

The COVID-19 outbreak is a “novel” coronavirus, meaning that it’s a strain not previously seen. Much of the concern about this strain is that it’s so new that we’re still learning how it works.

Coronavirus has now spread widely across Washington State, the United States, and countries around the world. There is an increased possibility of serious illness, including death, among those who are elderly or have underlying health conditions.

Symptoms include cough and shortness of breath or difficulty breathing and at least two of the following: fever, chills, repeated shaking with chills, muscle pain, headache, sore throat, or new loss of taste or smell. More information about COVID-19 symptoms can be found here.

What is Unity Care NW doing to keep patients safe?

Learn about changes to check-in procedures and the steps we are taking to keep patients and staff safe here.

What should I do if I think I may have Coronavirus?

If you have a fever, a cough, or feel short of breathplease call ahead of time at (360) 676-6177 before coming to our offices. That way, we can make sure that we take precautions to protect staff and other patients and respond appropriately to your symptoms. Currently, all patients are being screened at the front entrance before entering the building. Screening includes a temperature check and several questions.  All patients are required to wear a mask to protect others.  One will be provided if you do not have one.

If you are experiencing severe shortness of breath or symptoms of a severe illness or injury of any nature, call 911.

Our After Hours Nurse Line is (360) 255-5334. If you are uninsured or have insurance coverage through Community Health Plan of Washington, you can call the Community Health Plan of Washington’s Nurse Advice Line at (866) 418-1002.

Where can I find community resources related to COVID-19?

You can also find information about self-care, social services, community resources, and financial assistance here.

Can I get tested to determine whether or not I have Coronavirus?

Unity Care NW is following Whatcom County Health Department testing recommendations. Tests provided through Unity Care NW are only available to Unity Care NW patients at this time.

The “screening” Unity Care NW is currently conducting at the entrances to our health centers is not testing. Rather, we are checking patients for fevers and/or other symptoms of illness to help us manage their visit to the health center and ensure the safety of staff and other patients.

When can I get the vaccine for COVID-19?

People who are most at risk from the COVID-19 virus will have first access to the vaccination. In Washington, that is front-line health care workers who are exposed to the virus in their work and people over 65 years-old. We have begun to receive and administer vaccines for but the number of eligible patients far exceeds the vaccine supply at this time. You can stay up-to-date on the latest news related to the vaccine by visiting this page. 

What can I do to prevent getting sick?













Prevent infection by doing the following…

  • Wash your hands regularly with warm soap and water or use hand sanitizer frequently, particularly before eating or touching your face
  • Wear a mask in public and when spending time with people from outside your household
  • Cover your cough and sneeze
  • Avoid touching your eyes, mouth, and nose
  • Drink plenty of liquids, eat a healthy diet, and get plenty of sleep for a stronger immune system
  • If you’re sick, stay home and avoid contact with others as much as possible


How do I know if I have a Cold, the Flu, or Coronavirus?

From what we know so far, symptoms of Coronavirus can range from mild to severe. Reports suggest, however, that more severe cases of coronavirus begin like the Flu — symptoms tend to come on quickly.

If you are sick with Flu-like symptoms but don’t feel sick enough to seek medical attention…

  • Get tested! Anyone can now be tested for COVID-19, and getting tested can help prevent the spread of disease to others. Call (360) 676-6177 for more information.
  • Stay home.
  • Drink plenty of fluids.
  • Take fever-reducing, pain-relieving medication as needed and directed.
  • Cover your cough and sneezes.
  • Continue to wash your hands.
  • Stay away from others as much as possible.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently-touched surfaces regularly or ask someone in your household to do this.

For more recommendations, click here.

More about Coronavirus (COVID-19)

  • Updates from the Whatcom County Health Department can be found here.
  • If you have general questions about COVID-19, you can call the Washington State Department of Health’s COVID-19 Information call center at 800-525-0127, then press #.
  • What to do if you have confirmed or suspected coronavirus disease (COVID-19) [PDF]
  • What to do if you were potentially exposed to someone with confirmed coronavirus disease (COVID-19) [PDF[Spanish]
  • What to do if you have symptoms of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) and have not been around anyone who has been diagnosed with COVID-19 [PDF]
  • COVID-19 American Sign Language Symptom Checker
  • Tips for preventing illness can be found here. [PDF] [Spanish] [Russian] [Punjabi]
  • If you are self-quarantined or have been tested for COVID-19, click here for information about obtaining prescriptions and groceries and what to do about appointments.