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Sept. 20, 2020

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ilani confirms second casino worker tests positive for COVID-19

Employee, close co-workers have been isolated, CEO says

By , Columbian staff writer
Published:

ilani confirmed its second case in a worker late last week, according to a July 4 company email.

The casino reopened on May 27, after a 70-day closure. The Cowlitz Tribe has sovereign rights and is not required to follow the state’s COVID-19 reopening plan with ilani.

ilani, which is just west of La Center, first announced a case in a worker in early June.

A statement from ilani President and General Manager Kara Fox-LaRose said the first positive case has recovered and returned to work. The newest case and co-workers who are close contacts have been isolated.

“ilani has been reopened for a full six weeks and, while having one of the largest workforces in Clark County, we have had just two positive COVID-19 cases, three weeks apart,” Fox-LaRose said.

After ilani’s first case was confirmed, two workplace complaints were electronically filed with the Washington office of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, or OSHA.

“There was an outbreak of coronavirus, and they have yet to clean the environment where the person was located,” a notice of allegations reads. “They are not monitoring the amount of people allowed in the establishment … exposing people to coronavirus.”

Per standard guidelines for electronic complaints, OSHA instructed ilani to do an internal inspection and supply OSHA with its findings, according to background information provided by an OSHA spokesperson. Both complaints have been resolved, according to the spokesperson.

Fox-LaRose said the Cowlitz Tribe has invested more than $1 million into the casino to make ilani safe during the pandemic.

She said the casino believes it is “setting the standard for reopening a complex operation in Clark County or anywhere.”

“From the moment we reopened, ilani has been prepared for the potential of positive COVID-19 cases, as we are still in the midst of a public health crisis,” Fox-LaRose said. “That’s why we continue to listen, learn and adapt and are continuing to consult with local Public Health officials and follow all guidelines from the CDC to ensure that ilani takes all possible steps to slow the spread of COVID-19 in our community.”

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