COVID-19 (Coronavirus)
COVID-19 (Coronavirus; CDC graphic)

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.

Adjacent posts

One reply on “COVID-19 Update: Food, transparency, and the fallout in our hardest hit communities”

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

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