NPI's Cascadia Advocate

Offering commentary and analysis from Washington, Oregon, and Idaho, The Cascadia Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's uplifting perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Sunday, June 7th, 2020

COVID-19 Update: Food, transparency, and the fallout in our hardest hit communities

It’s time for anoth­er install­ment of of our spe­cial series COVID-19 Update, bring­ing you the lat­est devel­op­ments on the nov­el coro­n­avirus out­break that pub­lic health author­i­ties here and across the coun­try are work­ing to mitigate.


Food pro­cess­ing con­tin­ues to be a focal point for devel­op­ment and spread of COVID-19. A fac­to­ry trawler, the FV Amer­i­can Dynasty, present­ly docked in Belling­ham, had eighty-five of one hun­dred and twen­ty-six crew mem­bers test pos­i­tive for COVID-19 as of June 1st, end­ing its fish­ing season.

There are con­cerns, as a result, that the north Pacif­ic fish­ing indus­try could be crip­pled for the fore­see­able future. In light of this and oth­er inci­dents regard­ing food proces­sors and the pan­dem­ic, Gov­er­nor Inslee has imple­ment­ed new rules for agribusi­ness that were made effec­tive as of June 3rd.

They require hand wash­ing sta­tions clos­er to orchards and fields and masks and oth­er PPE avail­able at no cost to employ­ees, among oth­er items.

Work­ers at Mat­son Fruit, who had been on strike since May 12th over COVID-19 con­cerns, returned to work on Mon­day after reach­ing a set­tle­ment on Fri­day, June 6th. Yak­ma Coun­ty has been, per capi­ta, one of the hard­est coun­ties hit in Wash­ing­ton state by the pan­dem­ic, and it and oth­er fac­tors may cur­tail the growth and pro­cess­ing of spe­cif­ic fruit crops for years to come.

Also on Fri­day, a num­ber of coun­ties were upgrad­ed in sta­tus with respect to Gov­er­nor Inslee’s “Safe Start” program.

King Coun­ty was upgrad­ed to a mod­i­fied Phase 1 sta­tus. Clark, Okanogan, Pierce, Skag­it, Sno­homish and What­com coun­ties moved to Phase 2 status.

Colum­bia, Fer­ry, Garfield, Lin­coln, Pend Oreille, Stevens and Wahki­akum coun­ties moved to Phase 3 sta­tus. An updat­ed risk assess­ment board for COVID-19 with­in Wash­ing­ton state was avail­able as of Wednes­day, June 3rd.


On June 3rd, four­teen pro­duc­tion work­ers at Bob’s Red Mill in Mil­waukie were found to have caught the dis­ease. That same day, state pub­lic health offi­cials dis­closed that almost one hun­dred employ­ees had become ill at two Port­land facil­i­ties of Townsend Farms, one of which had hap­pened in late April. Pacif­ic Seafood, in the coastal town of New­port, has devel­oped 124 cas­es of COVID-19, accord­ing to inves­ti­ga­tions by local pub­lic health author­i­ties between June 2nd and 7th.


The Mag­ic Val­ley area of Ida­ho, which includes the city of Twin Falls, has Lati­nos and His­pan­ics make up over 50% of their cas­es of COVID-19, which are a result of many issues with­in the community.

After some ear­li­er con­tro­ver­sy with the Ida­ho States­man news­pa­per, the Ida­ho Depart­ment of Health and Wel­fare start­ed report­ing week­ly the num­ber of COVID-19 cas­es at long-term care facil­i­ties on Fri­day, June 5th.

British Colum­bia

The provin­cial gov­ern­ment has raised almost one thou­sand vol­un­teers from gov­ern­ment employ­ees, who are present­ly on rota­tion to min­i­mize viral load per vol­un­teer, to enforce quar­an­tine rules at all inter­na­tion­al bor­der crossings.

The hard, cold numbers

Wash­ing­ton state has had 24,733 cas­es and 1,162 attrib­ut­able deaths.

405,056 peo­ple have been tested.

Ore­gon has had 4,808 cas­es and 164 attrib­ut­able deaths.

148,400 peo­ple have been tested.

Ida­ho has had 3,139 cas­es and 83 attrib­ut­able deaths.

56,041 peo­ple have been tested.

British Colum­bia has had 2,632 cas­es and 167 attrib­ut­able deaths.

153,359 peo­ple have been tested.

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One Comment

  1. Our food sup­ply is tru­ly at risk. This is a sto­ry that deserves more attention. 

    # by Cami Clark :: June 15th, 2020 at 4:08 AM
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