A pair of COVID-19 outbreaks, one in Yakima and one in Sunnyside, underscore the importance of vaccination and following public health recommendations, the Yakima Health District said in a Friday news release.
Forty-five people tested positive at Gilbert Orchards, 10804 Gilbert Road in Yakima, the district learned Thursday, according to the release. And on May 21, five people tested positive at the Prestige Care & Rehabilitation long-term care facility, 721 Otis Ave. in Sunnyside.
“This is another reminder of the importance to get vaccinated to prevent the spread of COVID-19,” Melissa Sixberry, the district’s director of disease control, said in the release. “The more community members that are vaccinated, the less opportunity there is for this virus to spread. If you are not yet vaccinated, it is crucial to follow public health recommendations, such as wearing a mask and social distancing. Let us all do our part to ensure the community is safe.”
Tim Kovis, a spokesman for the Washington State Tree Fruit Association, said the workers tested positive before the vaccine had taken full effect, and the situation showed that monitoring is working.
The Yakima Health District has recommended that Gilbert Orchards require all employees to get tested every three to seven days, continuously monitor staff for symptoms, continue to ensure mask usage for staff and social distancing and form cohort work-groups and living situations to prevent transmission.
Any additional cases will be reported to the Yakima Health District. The district will continue to monitor for new cases and provide additional recommendations, resources and guidance as needed. The state Department of Labor & Industries has been notified and is working with the Yakima Health District.
At the Sunnyside facility, staff has established a COVID-19 unit separate from other residents and staff and has dedicated staff members to this area. Additionally, it paused admissions and visitations until it is determined there is no further spread of the virus. The Yakima Health District will continue to monitor, conduct site visits and be in daily communication with the facility, the release said.