Response team updates for May 30…

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by Richard Uhlhorn

EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT REPORT – Sgt. Kent Sisson

Emergency Management’s Sgt. Kent Sisson shared some good news with the Leadership Response Team.

He said that it appears the Farm Worker Housing tests in Douglas County was an isolated hot spot. “The good news is that at two other sites, we found no cases and no positives,” said Sisson.

According to Sisson, the State Emergency Operations Center (EOC)  is working on a plan of action of they are going to get tests out. “We still don’t have an answer or plan, Quite a few of us are frustrated.”

Emergency Management is only getting partial orders of PPE of what was requested.

He also stated that the Sheriff’s Department is checking on compliance and potential violations. Apparently there is a lot of social media comments that the Sheriff’s Department is doing nothing. “We have had 119 calls on the tip line (509.667.6985) and have responded to them,” said Sisson. He added that some people are just upset, but that the department is educating potential violators, and if they continue to violate, the Sheriff’s Department will take more serious action. “We are not ignoring violations. I wanted to put that out there.”

Chelan Councilman Ray Dobbs asked about the department’s enforcement. Sisson replied, “Our approach is to educate and then be more formal if needed with the last resort fining them.” He says they are seeing most comply after the first visit, but that some in the City of Wenatchee are not complying and are being investigated by the Wenatchee Police Department.

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CHELAN-DOUGLAS COUNTY HEALTH – Joyous Van Meter

Meter is the Regional Epidemiologist/Regional Emergency Response Coordinator and was standing in for CDHD’s director Barry Kling. “As of last night (Wednesday, April 29) we had 186 cases with 11 new yesterday,” said Meter.

Chelan 7 Fire Chief Mark Donnell asked about testing for first responders. “It is definitely being discussed,” said Meter. “It is definitely a topic for the future.” Donnell asked about Antibody testing and Meter stated that the Health District is looking into it.

Kari Grover-Weir said she was interested in getting her fire fighters tested. “They working and living together and it makes sense to do that,” said Weir.

Weir also asked about the big spike at Stemilt. “Are we on a downslope now,” she asked. Meter said she wasn’t sure how that would play out. “From what I hear, the hospitals are leveling off… it is tricky because most are asymptomatic,” said Meter.

Laura Schmidt – CDHD stated that many of those tested positive are asymptomatic, but the District wouldn’t necessarily see them. “It is hard to show a curve of where we are at,” she said.

Schmidt also reinforced that Columbia Valley Health is working on restoring some of its “face to face” patient visits, but is also continuing to conduct telehealth conferences with patients. “We are keeping asymptomatic patients away from other patients,” she added. The district is focusing on appointment types.

Dobbs asked about compensation and whether or not it was the same as a face to face visit with a physician. Schmidt replied that there was compensation involved which is not the same but is comparable. The telehealth visits are HIPA compliant.

Schmidt also said that testing and contact tracing is increasing, particularly with any covid positive case handed to them, not just patients of Columbia Valley Health. “We are using our more highly experienced medical assistants,” she said.

CHELAN RANGER DISTRICT -Kari Grover-Weir

Weir stated that the Wenatchee National Forest trails and roads remain open, but all improved trail heads are still closed to keep people from congregating. “For the most part people are abiding by that,” said Weir.

She said the District is focused on fire response operating procedures to protect the area’s communities. All 24 Entiat Hotshots are now on board. Weir indicated that if there is a large fire this year, the community will not see the typical fire camp.

As for Memorial Day, Weir said that she doubted campgrounds would be open by then. However, the word is circulating on social media that the Forests are open and that college kids are encouraged to show up. “We’ve been getting a lot of calls about Memorial Day and we are telling people not to come,” said Weir.

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CHELAN FRUIT – Jim Cobert

“We continue to build COVID virus barriers at our facilities. We’ve received some thermometers and masks for the upcoming cherry harvest.”

In an earlier conversation with Colbert by telephone, he said Chelan Fruit is not only building barriers, but are working on keeping workers safe. “We are offering masks and face shield for those who want them and trying to figure out how we will handle 200 people at lunch time.”

With the State Department of Health and Washington State Labor & Industries coming out with new regulations regarding agricultural worker housing, Colbert said cherry harvest is going to be very difficult. It normally takes place in early June.

The Leadership Response Team meets by teleconference every Thursday afternoon beginning at 1 p.m.

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