Wasco County Commissioners met Wednesday, July 8 for their weekly update on the pandemic. There were three instances of workplace outbreaks in the region – at Azure Standard in Sherman County, and Polehn Farms and Orchardview Farms in Wasco County. North Central Health District physician Mimi McDonell explained that the Oregon Health Authority had defined outbreak in this instance to mean there were five cases tied to those workplaces.
“They may have five or more but heretofore has been less than ten,” she said, “so I want people to understand that we use that word outbreak in public health land it just means two or more. The Oregon Health Authority is using five or more to publish them but I want the folks who are listening to understand that it does not mean that there are all of a sudden a hundred people at one workplace that have tested positive.”
And a representative of Mid-Columbia Medical Center at that meeting said they had only two people hospitalized for COVID-19 at present.
Asked if we should have concerns about staying indoors, Dr. McDonell answered this way:
“You can think about it how you can smell bacon from several rooms away, well, that’s what aerosolized means. If you can think of bacon odor particles, you can certainly have viral particles floating around. Now in terms of what can be done about that – is yes, it does appear that the virus can be flowing around in the air for longer periods of time, so it’s not necessarily face to face and then it drops and then it’s on the ground. Which is why thinking of having 8 or 10 people in a room for hours talking – even if they have masks on – still not a great idea.”
She said that the health district had been receiving great cooperation from growers and partner agencies including One Community Health, The Next Door, Inc., MCMC and Bridges to Health.
Commissioners also heard that they had received a share of federal grant money distributed by the state to the tune of $35,000, and decided to use the funds to replenish stockpiles of personal protective equipment that were being drawn down to deal with the pandemic.
And Lynn Burditt of the Forest Service announced that the Army Corps of Engineers have opened Celilo Park and Rufus Landing for day use.
To listen to the whole meeting, click on the grey podcast bar below: