Kittitas County’s efforts to reopen businesses sooner is on pause with a new coronavirus case in the county.
The latest confirmed case of COVID-19 is an employee at Twin City Foods Inc., a frozen vegetable plant in Ellensburg, the county’s public health officials said in a news release Friday. It’s the first reported case in the county since mid-April.
The county now has 16 total cases with 15 of the cases considered recovered, county public health officials said.
The Stanwood-based company has closed the facility and is working with the county’s incident management team to test all employees via a drive-thru method. As of Friday morning, two employees had been tested.
Anyone who has been in contact with the patient has been or will be notified by the county team and be isolated upon testing.
The county team notified the state Department of Health regarding the confirmed case and what impact it could have on the county’s variance application. The application is currently on pause while the county seeks additional information, the release said.
“Our application for variance outlined exactly how we would respond to a situation like this, so that’s what we’re doing today,” Tristen Lamb, public health director, said in the news release. “We have the opportunity to show that our community and our public health system can respond immediately to identify, isolate, and suppress a COVID-19 outbreak in our county. This only makes our application stronger.”
Ten counties, including Kittitas County, were able apply for a variance that would allow immediate entrance to the second of the four phases in the state’s plan to resume business and social activities. Most of the state was expected to reach the second phase around June 1.
The counties were selected because they had a population under 75,000 and had no new reported cases of COVID-19 in three or more weeks.
Under the second phase, gatherings of five or fewer people outside one’s household would be allowed a week. More businesses, with restrictions, would be allowed to resume operation including retail, real estate, hair and nail salons, pet groomers and restaurants.