Health District’s Dr. Butler calls for leaders to ‘Ring the Bell’

By Richard Uhlhorn

Across the Nation, Governors are shutting down their states just prior to the holidays to try and gain control over a surging Corona Virus outbreak.

Washington’s Governor Jay Inslee shut down a number of activities on Sunday, November 15 for the next four weeks in hopes that the state can flatten the curve on the blossoming virus.

Chelan and Douglas Counties are the state’s big hot spots for positive Corona Virus cases according to Dr. Malcolm Butler in his report to the Chelan-Douglas Health District Board of Directors on Monday, November 16.

“It is starting back up,” said Dr. Butler. “Our hospitals will be overwhelmed. The concern now is that nobody has much capacity.” He did say that our hospital’s still have some capacity, but with the cases going up in all fronts, it won’t take long to reach capacity.

“The new cases are happening in our big cities which is what you would expect,” stated Dr. Butler. Leavenworth stands out at 846 new cases and Orondo is the big hot spot with 3,709 cases over the past two weeks.. The point is that we are hot all over the place right now.”


Dr. Butler stated that the K-4 1/2 time hybrid model has gone very well. However he also stated that most plans will be to hold off on bringing in older students which could derail Chelan’s effort to get its Middle School students back in the classroom.

Barry DePaoli, superintendent of the Chelan District, remarked in a telephone call that a number of school in North Central Washington have a number of incidents they are dealing with. East Wenatchee now has 10 positives including four teachers. Oroville High School has 46 quarantined. “Kids are struggling academically.” The district is also concerned about mental health issues. “We are going to lose some students.”

DePaoli stated that the District has done a ton of work and the staff is more than ready to get kids back into the classroom. “These will be hard decisions,” said DePaoli. “Manson is looking at bring back their students from the eighth grade to 12th grade.”

Dr. Butler will be presenting to the School Districts on Wednesday morning.


Dr. Butler told the board that there is no safe way to share the holiday outside of a family’s bubble. This is based on statistics that show in-home transmission is how the virus is currently spreading, based on Seahawk parties and other events within households. “The workplace and schools are the safest places right now,” said Dr. Butler.

Another concern is homecoming college students and military personnel. The Health District is working on setting up testing for this demographic this coming weekend in hopes they will take advantage.

Ringing the Bell:

“We need our leaders to ring the bell,” said Dr. Butler. “When they (the community) see businesses opening up, they think all is well because things are getting back to normal. Ringing the Bell captures their attention.” Imposing dramatic social limitations is a way to ring the bell.

Over the next four weeks. the hope is that the two counties can flatten the curve so the Governor can relax the current restrictions put in place on Tuesday, November 17.

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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