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Coronavirus outbreak at Vancouver fruit processor jumps to 84 cases

shut down the facility on Tuesday, May 19. Facility-wide testing of all employees began last Friday.

Melnick said that Firestone had implemented some safety measures prior to the outbreak, but the county felt there were areas that needed to be addressed to better ensure employee safety. Clark County’s public health department is now working with Firestone and Washington’s Department of Labor and Industries to develop a plan “to help the facility better align with new guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.”

“There were enough questions and concerns that we felt that they should not be operating,” Melnick said.

On Sunday, Firestone said its processing facility will remain closed until at least Thursday and will only reopen with the approval of the county health department. Employees and close contacts who test positive are being asked to quarantine for 14 days. Those employees would not be allowed to return to work until after the 14-day quarantine.

“It’s going to have to be based on the disease itself, the isolation, the quarantine and we need to be satisfied and Labor and Industries needs to be satisfied that they have the appropriate safety measures in place,” said Melnick about what needs to happen before Firestone reopens.

On Saturday night, Washington state health officials suspended Clark County’s application to move to Phase 2 of its reopening because of the Firestone outbreak.

Melnick said that it will be important for the county to continue to gather more information regarding the Firestone outbreak and be able to show that there hasn’t been a community-wide spread stemming from the outbreak for Clark County to be able to move into Phase 2.

“I’m going to have a discussion with the Department of Health,” Melnick said. “But if our numbers countywide remain low and we’re able to show that we’re able to contain this particular outbreak, yes, my recommendation would be to move to Phase 2.”

— Jamie Goldberg | jgoldberg@oregonian.com | @jamiebgoldberg

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