Wahkiakum case load steady; Yakima County has highest rate
June 18, 2020
While the number of covid-19 cases are bouncing in neighboring counties, Wahkiakum County’s positive count remains at four, with 172 tests conducted. In Pacific County, the number of positive cases has risen to 12, while Cowlitz County added 29 this last week to reach 118. Across the river in Columbia County the number of positive cases has risen to 22, and in Clatsop County they’ve reached 46.
Yakima County currently has the highest rate of the disease in the state, at 700 positive cases per 100,000 people. They had 5,830 cases as of Tuesday, according to the Yakima Herald, with 31 percent of the people tested showing positive results.
“A lot of the fruit and vegetables that you find at farmers markets come out of Yakima County,” Wahkiakum Health and Human Services Director Chris Bischoff said, adding that there were active case loads in nearby Chelan, Grant, and Franklin counties.
“What does that mean if somebody heads east of the mountains to pick up and bring back produce and you show up at the farmers market to buy it?” Bischoff asked.
Wash produce with a mild soap solution, and rinse it off really well, regardless of where it comes from, Bischoff said, whether it comes from your garden, your neighbors garden, or halfway around the world.
“If you are going to a farmers market, please wear a mask,” Bischoff added. “If they will bag the items for you, that’s better, using a paper towel or something else to bag the items.”
For anyone considering a trip to Yakima County to pick up produce, or for any other reason, Bischoff urged caution.
“You’ve got to know that in Yakima County, if you are getting out of your car, your chance of running into someone who has been exposed is very high, Bischoff said. “That is person to person spread, and it is community wide. It’s in the restaurants, it’s at the gas stations, it’s in the stores, it’s everywhere.”
One of the reasons they haven’t been able to get covid-19 under control in Yakima County is because some members of the community believe that it doesn’t involve them, as long as they don’t go where the immigrant workers are, Bischoff pointed out.
“That’s not true. It’s in all the populations regardless of ethnicity and race,” Bischoff said.
“If you are going to go to any other county, if you are going to go out of your house, you need to take precautions, and you need to be careful,” Bischoff said. “That’s our current normal, whether we like it or not. If possible, don’t visit places that are in the middle of a massive outbreak like Yakima. It’s not really a good idea. Some people will and we still want our vegetables and fruits. I get all that, just consider strong precautions. If you are the one going to pick them up, consider if you can take some quarantine days when you get back, just to make sure. Two weeks is still the standard on that. For a lot of people that’s not possible, but that might be a consideration.”
He also urged caution when heading to Cowlitz County, where numbers are rising, because of an outbreak at a cabinet making business in Clark County, but also person to person spread.
World Health Organization
The work that they do is imperative for our planet,” Bischoff said. “The same with the Centers for Disease Control. This is the first pandemic of this scale, that populations have had since 1918.
“Are they currently having a lot of political problems? Yes,” he said. “Are they currently saying stupid things on a regular basis? They are not saying stupid things, they are saying things in a stupid way.”
He used their recent statement that they are not seeing asymptomatic transmission as an example.
“They didn’t release any data on that, they just said it,” Bischoff said. “A bunch of folks jumped into that and said that’s not right, and WHO backed off.”
What they meant to say, according to Bischoff, is that if you are going to be symptomatic, about a day or two before your symptoms show up, you are “super, super spreading.”
“That’s what we are seeing statistically,” Bischoff said. “It doesn’t seem to matter if you are slightly symptomatic or heavily symptomatic, but if you are going to end up with at least a low grade fever and a cough then about a day or two before you get that, you are passing that virus at a high, high rate. What we are not seeing is people who will stay asymptomatic through the entire disease passing at as equally high rate. Passing as in shedding the virus. Asymptomatic people still spread the virus.”