Skip to Phase 3… nope says Health District

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by Richard Uhlhorn

The rumor that Chelan County would be able to skip Phase 2 and move right into Phase 3 was squashed by Chelan-Douglas County Health’s Joyous Van Meter at this Thursday’s Leadership Response Team meeting.

Mayor Bob Goedde brought up the question, saying he had some people that are holding off from opening their businesses say the County was going to skip to Phase 3. Sgt. Kent Sisson, EOC, said that information was extremely hard to believe. He tossed the ball to Van Meter who replied, “It is pretty adamant we couldn’t skip over phases.”

Sisson said that the EOC is distributing a portion of the 50,000 masks they received. “We’ve already put 10,000 out the door.” These masks are for employees of agencies and businesses and Sisson said they were appreciated. The EOC also has 61,000 allocated from the State for poverty level people. “We are figuring out where these masks are going to go. They are only for targeted populations.” These masks will probably be disbursed through organizations like Thrive for Chelan, etc.

Chief Mark Donnell said that the chambers and businesses are thankful for the masks because it has been hard to get them in the private sector.

Joyous Van Meter, CDHD, reported 472 cases in both Douglas and Chelan counties with three new on Wednesday, June 17. “We went below 25 per 100,000 yesterday,” she said. As of Saturday, Chelan County was at 24.6 per 100,000. Only one COVID patient is currently hospitalized.

Paul Willard, Chelan Ranger District, asked if the county has the capability of testing the District’s firefighters before they are sent out to wildfires. Van Meter replied that she thinks the Health District has the capability to do the testing. “Send me an email with the numbers involved and your timeframe.”

EMS Director Ray Eickmeyer said the Hospital is doing well. “We continue to test out and in-patients, plus anyone having surgery. As of June one we have no positives.” He also said the Hospital has no COVID patients.

Willard reported that the Forest Service campgrounds opened on Friday, June 12. However, he added that cabin rentals and group sites remain closed.

Jim Colbert, Chelan Fruit, reported that the cooperative hasn’t seen a positive case since May in their workforce. “We are (finally) seeing the greatest acceptance of distancing,” he said. “Those were issues we were challenged with earlier in the year.”

Mayor Goedde reported that masks are the best way to stop the spread of the virus. He mentioned Dr. Butler’s bullet points on the subject and is hoping to get those points out to the public.

With many of the restaurants opening up with restricted indoor capacity, Goedde added that some owners he has talked with are not willing to open up with only 25% of capacity allowed because it is very limiting. The city and restaurants are looking at outdoor seating also. Goedde’s only other concern is servicing the people who visit the valley for food and beverage.

With the numbers of cases over a 14 day period finally dipping below 25 per 100,000, the move to Phase 2 should happen quickly.

The Leadership Response Team for Chelan and Douglas County report changes every Thursday, at 1 p.m. The public is allowed to dial in, but not allowed to speak. 351-888-7591.

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