Officials join panel to discuss COVID-19 virus and the Valley’s plans to mitigate it


Health, School and City officials participated in a panel discussion about the emerging COVID-19 Virus situation in the Lake Chelan Valley which was hosted by Lake Chelan Now.

By Richard Uhlhorn

Barry DePaoli said that closure of the Lake Chelan Schools was imminent at a round table of health and other agency officials yesterday morning. I don’t think he knew how immediate that order would come down from the Governor who has effectively told the State School System that K-12 schools would shout down on Tuesday, March 17 until Sunday, April 26.


Chelan School Superintendent Barry DePaoli stated that a
school closure was imminent. Later in the day the closure was
announced to begin on Tuesday, March 17.

Today, the School District is encouraging students to attend school on Monday, March 16, so the District Staff can prepare them for instructional opportunities that will follow in the next six weeks. (Say Current: “We are looking at how to serve students,” said DePaoli. “It will be a challenge on how to (continue) to educate our children.”

Barry DePaoli encourages parents to get their children to school on Monday, March 16, so they can be prepared for the upcoming closure.

DePaoli’s biggest concern is anxiety amongst children. “We are going to get through this.” He is in touch with superintendents around the valley.


Manson School Superintendent Matt Charlton stated that his District is in the planning stages for a shutdown.

Also on board was Matt Charlton, Manson Superintendent. “How do we talk to students about this?” Charlton said the Manson District will probably concentrate on a literacy emphasis during any shutdown. “We have a group working on the shutdown.”

Both district students have laptops that can be used at home. DePaoli’s concern is how to instruct those students who don’t have internet conductivity at home.

The other issue being discussed within the districts is how they can support breakfast and lunch meals. “These are the only quality meal some of these students get,” said Charlton

Charlton also said that Manson is seeing an influx of west side families with second homes coming in and added that one family has already requested that his athlete be allowed to train with the Manson track athletes. “That’s a new dynamic,” said Charlton.


Mayor Bob Goedde stated that the City is planning on
|keeping essential services running.

Mayor Goedde assured that panel that the City is concentrating on keeping essential services running. “Those people will have backup if necessary,” said Goedde. The City is also discussing the possibilities of shutting doors at the Planning Office and Public Works.


Hospital CEO George Rohrich believes there will be an outbreak in the Valley.

George Rohrich told the panel that the hospital believes that there will be an outbreak in the valley. “We are beginning to discourage access to patients and will restrict access from friends and families who want to visit,” he said. He also said the hospital wants to insure that visitors are healthy before they come into the hospital.


EMS Director Ray Eickmeyer said every effort was being made to make sure EMS serves the public while keeping
first responders from the fire department and EMS safe.

Ray Eickmeyer – EMS Director said he was in constant contact with the hospital’s partners. “We are talking about what’s going on and are opening new ways to communicate.”

Procedures have changed for EMS in order to protect first responders from the Fire Department and EMS. “We need to be on the same page.”


CVCH Administrator Mary Louise Jones stated that an incident command center was being set up to manage their daily operations during this crisis.

Mary Louise Jones – CVCH administrator, said they were setting up an incident command center to manage their daily operations. “We are very proactive. If you have symptoms, please call and we will decide whether or not you can stay home or come in.”


Maria Sirois, LCCH Quality Control Officer stated that the hospital is expecting to test more people in the next several weeks. Two have already been tested and were found to be negative.

Points that should be taken seriously include keeping surfaces, door knobs and other frequently touched surfaces wiped down. Don’t frequent places where there are a lot of people gathered and try to maintain at least six feet space. Stay at home if possible.

Hospital CEO George Rohrich said, “Personally, I would say the virus is here. The Department of Health is trying to slow down the infection rate and let science and technology catch up.” He sees that happening in the near future and hopes people can respect both sides of the issue.

Mayor Goedde stated that the Lake Chelan Chamber of Commerce should put out information for visitors because that is where they would go for information.

The SeniorCenter will be delivering meals Monday through Thursday. If you request a meal, that request has to be in before 9:30 a.m.

The City of Chelan will be holding a special council meeting at 2 p.m. in Council Chambers to participate in a Covid-19 Webinar sponsored by the Municipal Research and Services Center (MRSC) with Council discussion to follow. Action may be taken.


Author: allthingslakechelan

I have been a journalist, photojournalist and reporter in the Lake Chelan Valley since 1988; first with the Wenatchee World, then 15 years at the Lake Chelan Mirror and another 12 years at GoLakeChelan. Currently, I am semi-retired but can't give up the media gig which is why I started All Things Lake Chelan blog. I also have two social media platforms; allthingslakechelan/facebook and lakechelansportsandrecration/facebook. I am also a professional photographer with many credits with major outlets around the world.

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