145 employees at Costco in Washington state test positive for COVID-19, store remains open – CTV News

YAKIMA, WASH. —
Health officials said this week that 145 workers have tested positive for COVID-19 at a Costco store near Yakima, but the store remains open while the Yakima Health District investigates.

Infected workers are in quarantine, the store in Union Gap is conducting sitewide testing and more cases are expected to be reported, the Yakima Herald-Republic reported. The heath district said in news release it will continue to monitor the outbreak that started before Christmas, when 68 workers tested positive for the virus.

Yakima County commissioners issued a statement this week saying they agree with keeping the store open, but sharply criticized Gov. Jay Inslee’s orders meant to slow virus spread, which impact small businesses, schools and churches.

“Our local Costco store can remain safely open despite a known outbreak, and yet our schools, restaurants, gyms, theatres, and other businesses cannot,” commissioners said.

Commissioners approved a proclamation earlier this month calling on Inslee to give local authorities more say in managing the coronavirus pandemic.

As cases began to surge in November, Inslee ordered new shutdowns Nov. 15 for restaurants, theatres and gyms. He has extended the restrictions through Jan. 11.

Yakima County surpassed 20,000 total COVID-19 cases this week. The death toll in the county since mid-March is approaching 300.