Environment

No-contact advisory issued for Larrabee State Park beach

Wildcat Cove showed high bacteria results during testing
August 5, 2022 at 5:20 p.m.

By JULIA LERNER
Staff Reporter

The Whatcom County Health Department has issued a no-contact advisory for Wildcat Cove, a beach in Larrabee State Park.

The advisory comes after the water in Wildcat Cove showed high results for enterococcus, a bacteria found in animal and human feces, several times this week.

“We tested on Monday and then retested on Wednesday,” said Heather Gibbs, coordinator for the Beach Environmental Assessment, Communication and Health program at the Washington State Department of Ecology. “We're still seeing high enterococcus levels.”

Gibbs said the bacteria can lead to illness and infections. 

“Contact with fecal-contaminated waters can result in gastroenteritis, skin rashes, upper respiratory infections and other illnesses,” according to an Ecology press release about the advisory. “Children and those who are immunocompromised may be more vulnerable to waterborne illnesses. We recommend showering after swimming and washing hands before eating if you’ve been in contact with the water or sand.”

The advisory is not an official beach closure, meaning people can still recreate in the area but should be cautious. Additional testing will resume Monday, and Gibbs said they hope to see lower levels of bacteria at that point. 

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