SPOKANE, Wash. — Many local businesses have been hit hard by COVID-19, whether they have reported several cases among staff members or outbreaks.
That's why the Spokane Regional Health District has dedicated resources to helping businesses that need guidance amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Vikki Bethels is an environmental health specialist who is part of the Spokane Regional Health District's business technical advisory team for COVID-19 response efforts. During a Facebook Live on Monday morning, she shared information about guidance for businesses dealing with positive coronavirus cases or outbreaks.
Businesses are required by a proclamation from Washington Gov. Jay Inslee to report cases to SRHD if two or more employees test positive for COVID-19 in a 14-day period, or if they suspect the virus is spreading through their worksite.
Those businesses that need to report outbreaks are asked to email email@example.com. The team at SRHD will then put the business in contact with a technical adviser who helps them figure out next steps.
Businesses can also email the same address if they want to request a consultation with an adviser.
SRHD does not require businesses to close for cleaning if an employee or customer tests positive, spokesperson Kelli Hawkins told KREM in July. She added that the district does have the power to close them, but would only do so if it was "really necessary."
Bethels said on Monday that her team works closely with epidemiology staff and health officer Dr. Bob Lutz regarding potential closures. During their conversations, they work to determine the number of people who are potentially positive for COVID-19 and at what point the business would need to close.
A handful of businesses in Spokane County have reported coronavirus cases since the pandemic began.
Forty-six coronavirus cases were linked to an outbreak at Borracho Tacos & Tequileria in downtown Spokane. The popular restaurant and bar in downtown Spokane closed its doors shortly after reporting cases.
Another outbreak at the Philadelphia Macaroni Company, a pasta plant in Spokane, left dozens of workers infected with coronavirus.
In early July, Morning Star Boys' Ranch announced five of its staff members and eight clients had tested positive for COVID-19.
The Amazon fulfillment center in Spokane reported an unknown number of positive coronavirus cases among employees in mid-July.
People looking to report businesses that are not following COVID-19 proclamations outlined by Washington state can do so online.