Yakima Health District News Release – COVID-19 Clusters at Critical Infrastructure Workplaces

The Yakima Health District has identified that at least seventy individuals within the agriculture and fruit production industry that have tested positive for COVID-19.

“We recognize that all of our critical infrastructure workers are at a higher risk of COVID-19 infection, and that the agriculture industry in particular is vulnerable due to the inability to ‘stay home’, “ said Andre Fresco, Executive Director of the Yakima Health District, “That is why we have been working with our partners to ensure that the public health recommendations are understood and creative solutions can be developed to ensure the safety of the community.”

The recommendations for critical infrastructure businesses are largely the same as for the general public.

1. Ensure at least 6 feet of physical distance, in cases where that is not possible, wear a mask

2. Ensure opportunity for frequent handwashing

3. Ensure that frequently used surfaces are sanitized often

Additional recommendations such as encouraging workers to stay home when sick, check temperatures daily are also in place. It is not recommended for critical infrastructure businesses to shut down unless there are individuals who stay in the facility overnight. More information on the recommendation for business operations can be found here. Additional information on proper disinfection practices can be found here.

“COVID-19 is primarily spread from person to person, and as such, the most important factor in COVID-19 in a place of employment is to ensure that individuals who have COVID-19 are identified and isolated at home.” said Dr. Teresa Everson, Health Officer at the Yakima Health District.

The Yakima Health District is working with the organizations that have multiple confirmed cases of COVID-19. Staff that work at these facilities will be notified, if they have not already been notified by their employer. The Yakima Health District will be providing additional education, testing and resources to organizations that have multiple confirmed cases of COVID-19.

If any organizations require assistance or additional information, they can call our Environmental Health Help Desk Line at 509-249-6508. The Yakima County Development Organization has also created a page of COVID-19 resources that can be found here.