kittitas public health

KITTITAS COUNTY, WA - Kittitas County health leaders responded to a potential COVID-19 outbreak Friday morning.

The county Incident Management Team (IMT) was notified of a new positive case. The patient is now stable however, they worked at Twin City Food, Inc.

The IMT is working closely with Twin City Foods, Inc. to organize mass testing of all employees this morning, Friday May 8. County leaders say the corporation had a quality safety plan in place, immediately closed the facility upon notification of exposure, and has prioritized the health and safety of employees. The IMT is implementing a point of distribution (POD) to test all employees via a drive thru method.

Anyone who was in close contact with this individual has been or will be in direct contact from the IMT and they will be isolated upon testing. If you are not contacted directly by the IMT, then you are not considered to be exposed to this case. You can still monitor your health for a fever, cough, or shortness of breath. For more information, please visit www.doh.wa.gov.

The IMT immediately contacted the Washington State Department of Health (DOH) to coordinate closely. Specifically, the IMT contacted DOH regarding the status of the variance application. Dr. Larson and Tristen Lamb were in communication with the Secretary of Health and the variance is currently paused. Secretary of Health John Wiesman stated that he was impressed with our county’s application and our overall COVID-19 response. The application has not been denied, only paused until more information about the potential outbreak is available.

“Our application for variance outlined exactly how we would respond to a situation like this, so that’s what we’re doing today,” states Tristen Lamb, Public Health Director. “We have the opportunity to show the state that our community and our public health system can respond immediately to identify, isolate, and suppress a COVID-19 outbreak in our county. This only makes our application stronger.”

Dr. Mark Larson, Kittitas County Health Officer, wants our residents to continue to take all precautions necessary to protect themselves from COVID-19. “A potential outbreak in our community, before moving into Phase 2, is a reminder of how important it is to maintain physical distancing, handwashing, and wearing a mask to protect others,” states Dr. Larson. “Kittitas County has impressed the state Department of Health. Let’s continue to do so by protecting ourselves and our neighbors from this disease.”

Dr. Larson will provide more information about today’s response plan on his Facebook update later today, and another press release will be released today by 2pm.

To date, Kittitas County has a total case count of 16 people. 15 of the 16 cases are considered “recovered.” As soon as we know more about the variance, the IMT will provide additional information via a press release. Questions about your health should be directed to your local healthcare provider or you can call the Temporary COVID Clinic at KVH at 509-933-8850. For general COVID-19 questions, the Emergency Operation Center is at 509-933-8315 or 509-933-8305.

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