County variance application put on hold in light of new cases

Bailey Tomlinson, News Editor

Kittitas County’s variance application has been put on hold following a 16th confirmed case of COVID-19. A press release from the Kittitas County Public Health Department confirmed the 16th case as a Twin Cities Food employee, who is in stable condition. As of May 8 at 10 a.m., 15 of the 16 total cases in the county are considered recovered.

The variance application, if approved by Gov. Inslee, will allow Kittitas County to skip phase one of the governor’s phased reopening plan. It has not been denied outright following the new case, only put on pause until more information is known.

Two additional Twin Cities employees have been tested, and the Incident Management Team (IMT) is working with Twin City Foods to test all employees this morning.

Those considered directly exposed to the positive case will be contacted by the IMT and will be in isolation following testing. Those who are not contacted by the IMT are not considered to be exposed to this case.

According to Public Health Officer Tristen Lamb, the variance application outlined the county’s response to new cases.

“We have the opportunity to show the state that our community and our public health system can respond immediately to identify, isolate, and suppress a COVID-19 outbreak in our county,” Lamb said. “This only makes our application stronger.”