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Cowlitz COVID-19 cases jump by 14; WestRock employees test positive

Cowlitz COVID-19 cases jump by 14; WestRock employees test positive

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The Novel Coronavirus

This illustration, created at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows the 2019 Novel Coronavirus. The illness caused by this virus has been named coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

Cowlitz County’s COVID-19 caseload jumped by 14 over the weekend, bringing the total to 146 Monday morning, with 71 of those cases recovered.

Meanwhile, officials at the WestRock pulp and paper mill in Longview said “a small number of employees” have tested positive for the virus. It was unclear when those cases were first reported.

“If any employee tests positive, we are following all CDC guidelines to address the situation,” said WestRock spokesperson John Pensac. “We continue to take the proper steps to protect the health and safety of our WestRock team, including practicing social distancing, implementing daily health screenings and temperature checks, and reinforcing proper hygiene and preventative practices. We have also increased cleaning and sanitization protocols at our facilities.”

Two Cowlitz County residents of the 146 that tested positive for the virus are hospitalized outside of the county, according to the Cowlitz COVID-19 Incident Management Team website.

Wahkiakum County health officials also on Monday reported one new COVID-19 case, bringing the county’s total to five. It’s the first new case in the county since May 11.

That individual is in self-quarantine and does not currently require medical care, according to a Wahkiakum County health department press release. At this time, additional community spread from this patient seems low, according to the release.

“We have expected this. We have planned for this. We continue to coordinate with partner agencies to monitor for the disease in the county,” health officials wrote in the release.

Wahkiakum County moved to Phase 3 of the governor’s reopening plan on June 5. Phase 3 allows restaurants and taverns to be occupied up to 75% of capacity; movie theaters to open at 50% of capacity; reopening of libraries and museums; bar areas at up to 25% capacity; gatherings of up to 50 people; resumption of non essential travel and customer-facing government services; and resumption of professional sports without audiences.

The state was still reviewing Cowlitz County’s application to move to a modified Phase 3 as of Monday afternoon. If approved, it would allow outdoor gatherings of up to 25 people, indoor gatherings of 10, as well as reopening customer-facing government services, museums and libraries.

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