The illusion of Columbia County existing in a safety bubble immune from the virus has been firmly erased with reports of 7 new positive COVID-19 cases in the last 3 days. Anything over 2 new cases at once is considered an outbreak, and measures must be taken to reduce the spread. These cases are all related, but a great deal of contract tracing is being conducted by our Public Health department staff. This means they are notifying and referring for testing those that had direct contact, notifying and monitoring those that had indirect contact, and implementing quarantine and isolation as needed. Click on the picture to read more about quarantine, isolation, and social distancing.
Unless you know for a fact that you've been in direct contact with a person that tested positive, have been contacted by the health department, or are exhibiting symptoms of the virus, you do not need to be tested.
I must admit that in the last several weeks, I personally had become complacent and had relaxed my diligence in wearing a mask and being cautious during my interactions in the community. This is a wake-up call for all of us. Public Health officials all over the world say that social distancing and wearing a mask are critical in the effort to stop the spread of this virus. Following the directives of health officials is important, and I'm going to take my own advice and do a better job of wearing a mask when in public. We cannot control the actions of others - we can only control our own behavior. The choices we make matter, and it is incumbent upon each of us to do our best to keep ourselves and our fellow community members safe.
If you find wearing a mask uncomfortable, try a different mask. There are many, many shapes and sizes. If you don't have a mask, call Public Health at 382-2181 and they can provide you with cloth masks. They have plenty.
For business owners - please note that our office has received several calls from residents saying they no longer want to patronize some of our businesses whose staff are not wearing masks. Besides providing for a safer environment, choosing to mask up may help increase your sales. We have also heard reports of the Department of L&I issuing fines to businesses in Walla Walla that were not following the reopening guidelines provided by the state. Here are some links to L&I press releases:
It's been pretty great to have our community opened up more in Phase 3. We're going to have to be careful in order to keep it this way.