Saturday, July 4, 2020
July 4, 2020

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Coronavirus outbreak reported at Whatcom processor

Health official not releasing name of company for now

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A Whatcom County processing facility is experiencing an active outbreak of coronavirus, the Whatcom County Health Department announced Monday. Which facility is impacted was not released and how many confirmed cases of COVID-19 have been diagnosed in the outbreak is still being determined.

“We are working very closely on that particular outbreak with the employees and the employer,” Director Erika Lautenbach said during an online briefing Monday.

Lautenbach said the company has not given the health department consent to have its name released, and since it is important for the health department to be able to work with the company to investigate the outbreak, the name is not being revealed.

“Obviously, it’s really important for us as we’re doing this investigative work to have trust in a relationship with the employer to ensure access and influence in best practices,” Lautenbach said.

Lautenbach said the location of most of Whatcom’s previous COVID-19 outbreaks have been able to be released because the long-term care facilities where they have occurred have been open to sharing information.

The health department reported 10 new confirmed cases in the county on Saturday and six more on Monday, bringing the county’s total number of cases to 401.

“The bulk of those new cases, I did confirm this morning, are associated with not only the employees of the facility, but also their close contacts,” Lautenbach said. “So most of those are related to that particular outbreak that we are investigating and working with that employer on.”

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