The Grapevine

Vancouver Fruit Processing Plant Experiences Coronavirus Outbreak; 84 COVID-19 Cases Reported

Food processing plants continue to be an alarming origin of COVID-19 cases. The Firestone Pacific Foods situated in Vancouver was already under fire after 38 workers tested positive for the coronavirus a couple of days ago. Now it appears that more employees are afflicted with the COVID-19 strain.

In a report from Fox 12 Oregon, there are 84 new cases of the coronavirus from the fruit processing plant with testing underway. The 87 employees tested negative but there were still several employees who have yet to be tested. There is a chance that these numbers may swell.

The recent update raised the number of infected employees to 69 from the Firestone Pacific Foods plant. Of the 69 additional cases, four are not from Clark County. The 15 of those who came into close contact with those employees have also tested positive, according to Clark County Public Health. COVID-19 testing for all employees began last Friday.

In all, there have been 165 employees and 83 people in close contact with them who have undergone COVID-19 testing. Additional testing is expected as health officials continue to try and find ways in containing the situation. Health officials claimed that there is no evidence the outbreak has spread beyond Firestone employees and their close contacts.

“The facility-wide testing of employees uncovered at least 18 people who tested positive but did not have symptoms at the time of their interview with Public Health,” according to health officials. “Information is not yet available about the number of close contacts who tested positive but did not have symptoms.”

In a previous post, it was reported how the plant was ordered closed after an initial 38 employees tested positive for COVID-19. There was one worker who was hospitalized and this triggered the testing of other employees. The issue also prevented Clark County from moving into phase 2 of its reopening plans. A discussion on the plans and recent developments is set to be held soon.

With the rising number of COVID-19 cases, there is a chance that Clark County may not be among the 21 states in Washington set to reopen. One prerequisite is for states to record an average of fewer than 10 new cases per 100,000 people for two weeks. Phase 2 plans call for establishments to reopen but only at 50 percent capacity. Outdoor activities will also be permitted for as long as it does not involve more than five people.

Coronavirus COVID-19 Test Kit A medical staff displays a test kit to detect the novel coronavirus at a COVID-19 screening-drive, at the Amsterdam UMC in Amsterdam The Netherlands, on March 24, 2020. ROBIN VAN LONKHUIJSEN/ANP/AFP via Getty Images

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