Early risers

Early risers — Hop field workers began the spring work in the fields near King Tull Road Monday, March 23. Agricultural workers are considered essential workers per the Governor’s order to Stay Home, Stay Healthy, which was issued Monday night.

YAKIMA — On the heels of Gov. Jay Inslee’s order to “Stay home, Stay Healthy” order Monday, March 23 night, Yakima Health District issued its first county death due to COVID-19.

The victim’s death was recorded the same day and was described as an elderly resident of a long-term care facility.

Inslee’s order required that everyone in the state stay home. “The less time we spend in public , the more lives we will save,” Inslee said.

The order is expected to last for two weeks and could be extended, he cautioned.

Tuesday, March 24, , the Health District changed the county number to 31 confirmed cases and 10 presumptive positive cases of COVID-19, most of whom are reported to be at home recovering.

Similar to the Governor’s order, District Health Officer Dr. Teresa Everson said the Stay at Home Order requires that people must remain at their place of residence, except as needed for essential travel such as for food, medications and medical care and for jobs that maintain continuity of operations of critical infrastructure sectors.

The order is effect immediately and will remain in effect until further notice.

“As the novel coronavirus continues to spread in our community and statewide, it is critical that all residents follow the order to stay home except when necessary,” Dr. Everson said.

“Limiting interpersonal interactions is a proven strategy to slow the spread of the virus and protect the most vulnerable members of our community. This order has been implemented in recognition that if we don’t take drastic action now, there will be a day in which our healthcare system is overwhelmed, and we will not be able to provide critical medical care to the most vulnerable in our community.”

Essential services will remain open. Essential services include:

  • Gas stations
  • Pharmacies
  • Food (grocery stores, convenience stores, food banks, take-out and delivery restaurants)
  • Banks
  • Laundromats/laundry services
  • Essential state and local government functions (law enforcement, utilities and other offices that provide government programs and services)

For organizations that must remain open to provide essential services, every effort should be made to have employees work from home.

If working from home is not an option, employers must ensure:

  • Proper social distancing (at least 6 feet between individuals)
  • Frequent sanitization of common areas
  • Frequent handwashing opportunities for employees
  • All sick employees, for any reason, stay at home to slow the spread of disease

To report business non-compliance, call the Yakima Health District at 509-249-6508. Yakima Health District.

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