Seven new cases were reported over the weekend, including four connected to Firestone Pacific in Vancouver
CLARK COUNTY — Seven new cases of COVID-19 were confirmed over the weekend in Clark County. That included four more cases linked to the Firestone Pacific Foods fruit packing plant in Vancouver, as well as an employee at a Dutch Bros. coffee location in Hazel Dell.
On Saturday, Dutch Bros released a statement, confirming that an employee at the location on NE 99th Street and Hazel Dell Avenue had tested positive on Fri., May 30. The employee last worked on May 27, and had also worked a morning shift on May 26.
The employee is now self-isolating. Dutch Bros officials say they immediately closed the Hazel Dell location upon learning of the test results, and brought in a third-party company to perform a deep clean. The business was back open as of Monday.
The coffee maker also recently suspended walk-in and walk-up service at several locations, along with no longer refilling personal mugs. They are also no longer accepting cash, and will require employees to wear masks while they are at work. Many of those policies were already in place before this past weekend.
Meanwhile, Firestone Pacific Foods has not yet reopened, but hopes to later this week, according to Clark County Public Health.
The fruit packing company has seen 77 employees and 47 of their close contacts test positive for COVID-19. That is up four since last Friday. A total of 172 employees and 147 close contacts have been tested by The Vancouver Clinic. Others may have sought testing privately.
Public Health says a number of Firestone employees have completed their quarantine period, and others have recovered. They are being allowed back on site to complete safety upgrades in preparation for resuming operations, perhaps as early as this week.
Firestone has worked with the county and Washington Labor and Industries to implement a plan that would allow for safe operations. That includes employee symptom screening, floor markings to accommodate distancing during work and breaks, remote clocking in, extra hand sanitizing and washing stations, enforcement of mask wearing and distancing, barriers on the production floor and extra sanitation of touched surfaces, among other requirements.
Clark County remains on pause
Clark County’s application to move into Phase 2 of the governor’s four-phased Safe Start reopening plan remains on pause. Dr. Alan Melnick, the county’s public health officer and health director, is scheduled to speak with Secretary of Health John Wiesman on Monday evening, to address concerns the state has. Melnick sent a letter last Friday, answering questions about the Firestone outbreak and detailing the county’s plans to address any other outbreaks.
Clark County has had 558 confirmed COVID-19 cases since the outbreak began, with 25 fatalities. No one has died from the disease for over a week, according to data released by the county.
As of June 1, there are six people hospitalized in Clark County with confirmed COVID-19 cases.