YAKIMA, Wash. - The Washington State Department of Health has deployed a strike team of ten infection specialists to help support the Yakima Health District's COVID-19 response.

Outside of King County, Yakima County has the highest number of COVID-19 infections in Washington state with nearly 3,000 reported cases since the beginning of the pandemic. Most of the cases have been diagnosed at long-term care facilities, according to the DOH.

The strike team is made up of eight DOC staff and two Center for Disease Control and Prevention staff who will assist health district workers with arranging testing, contacting and tracing infected patients, and provide guidance to facilities hit hardest by COVID-19. 

“Our priority, our focus, is to make sure we are able to prevent the spread of infection in places where people are in close quarters,” said Dr. Lindquist in a press release by the DOH. “We realized that there was a need for additional support to do that successfully, which is why we requested extra support from the CDC.”

The strike team is also helping a meat-packing plant, a fruit-packing plant and a jail in Yakima County develop and implement infection control guidelines to protect workers. 

According to the DOH's COVID-19 Data Dashboard, Yakima County is reporting 9,958 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 91 deaths. More than 230 people have been hospitalized.