by Richard Uhlhorn
Chelan and Douglas Counties were down below 25 per 100,000 positive cases last week, but a recent spike has brought that case count up to 125 per 100,000 as of Friday, June 3.
At Thursday’s ZOOM meeting, Joyous Van Meter, Chelan-Douglas Health District reported that positive cases were up not only in Chelan and Douglas Counties, but also in Grant and Benton Counties.
These spikes in positive cases will keep Chelan County from moving to Phase 2 and could push the county back to Phase 1. Van Meter stated that re-opening is a part of the increase in cases. Ray Dobbs, Chelan City Council asked if most of the cases were Ag. related? Van Meter replied that the Health District has been working with the Agriculture companies. “We continue to work with them,” she said. “We are also reaching out to farmers. We are talking to them and answering questions.”
Jim Colbert, Chelan Fruit, reported that they haven’t had a positive case since May and stated the company is satisfied with the higher level of acceptance by the work force. “Our grower members are battling the virus in their own housing,” said Colbert.
Van Meter reported that the Health District will begin waste water testing that will hopefully help identify positive case increases before actual individual testing will. They also began mask surveys in both East Wenatchee and Wenatchee and found that only 36 percent of the customer base was wearing a mask on June 23/24, but that jumped to 75 percent this week.
She also reported that hospitalization was also trending up with three new cases in Central Washington Hospital.
Chelan District Ranger Kari Grover-Weir
Kari Grover-Weir reported that the Chelan/Entiat Ranger District had no positive cases. She is concerned with some firefighters being sent to Arizona, but also said that some were being sent to Alaska, and those were individuals are tested when they arrive.
Weir expects to see a high level of recreation on Forest Service lands over the Fourth of July weekend. “We will have fire crews on duty throughout the weekend,” said Weir.
Manson Chamber Director Debbie Conwell said the Chamber has set up free mask distribution for community members who wish to watch the fireworks show from the parks, but are encouraging people to socially distance themselves and to wear masks.
Richard Magnussen (left) stood in for Kent Sisson during Thursday’s Leadership Response Team Meeting.
Rich Magnussen, Chelan County Emergency Management (EOC), filled in for Kent Sisson who had the day off. “We continue to order PPE and it continues to roll in,” said Magnussen. He lauded the Port of Chelan County for allowing the EOC to move into one of their empty warehouses because they were full at their warehouse.
Councilman Ray Dobbs
Ray Dobbs asked if N95 masks would be available for the public. Magnussen replied that they are very hard to come by and those they receive are being used by the medical community.
Sgt. Chris Foreman didn’t join Thursday’s meeting, so Fire Chief Mark Donnell asked Magnussen if there were any plans to have additional deputies in the Lake Chelan Valley over the three day weekend. Magnussen replied he hadn’t heard of any plans for additional deputies. “I’m not aware of any additional staffing.”
Chelan City Administrator Wade Ferris
City Administrator Wade Ferris and Councilman Ray Dobbs reported that the Lakeshore RV Park was filling up with visitors. “There is no tent camping,” Ferris said. The reason for this is that the RV Park’s bathroom facilities are not open.
Ferris also reported that the City has received only one application (Stormy Mountain Brewing) to develop raised outdoor seating on two parking spaces in front of the restaurant. Dobbs replied that he was disappointed that there were no other applications.
Dobbs also lauded the City for placing barricades in Lakeside to help curtail visitor parking in residential neighborhoods. “Parking has been a major issue in Lakeside for years,” said Dobbs.
Chelan Fire Chief Mark Donnell
Chelan Fire Chief Mark Donnell reported that all of the District’s personnel are healthy and that the District’s PPE levels are adequate.
The next update from the Leadership Response Team will take place on July 16 at 1 p.m. The public is invited to listen in by dialing 351-888-7591.