PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Washington state has pressed pause on Clark County’s request to move into Phase 2 of Governor Jay Inslee’s reopening plan due to an outbreak of COVID-19 at a Vancouver food processing plant.
Currently, 38 workers at Firestone Pacific Foods have tested positive for the coronavirus, according to Clark County Public Health. Among those, one person has been hospitalized.
The Vancouver facility was instructed to halt operations by the Public Health department on Tuesday, May 19, to prevent the continued spread of the virus between employees. Public Health Director Dr. Alan Melnick said Public Health has been working with the company, along with Washington Labor and Industries, and the Vancouver Clinic, in the response to the outbreak.
All employees at Firestone are now undergoing testing, which began on Friday, according to Public Health. Twelve cases were identified at the plant before wide-spread testing started. As of Friday afternoon, another 26 positive cases have been diagnosed.
Anyone who tested positive for the virus was instructed to stay home and self-isolate. Public Health is also working on notifying the close contacts of those individuals, and they too will be asked to quarantine for the next two weeks.
As a result of the outbreak, the state of Washington put Clark County’s request to enter Phase 2 of reopening on pause “until further discussion next week.” Public Health did not give a timeline of when Clark County could begin to move forward.