The Clark County chiropractic clinic that may have exposed hundreds of people to COVID-19 is officially an outbreak and under investigation by two state agencies.
County health officials said Friday there are two “probable” cases of coronavirus linked to Chiro One Wellness Center, where a staffer was confirmed positive Monday.
Up to 300 people may have come in contact with the unidentified worker. County health officials said the unidentified staffer spent “extended amounts of time with patients” and that “mask use was not consistent” among staff and patients.
County health spokesperson Marissa Armstrong said the health department is treating the “probable” cases as confirmed. In Washington, two or more COVID-19 cases linked to one facility is deemed an outbreak.
“These probable cases are treated as confirmed cases when it comes to investigations and contact tracing,” Armstrong said. “This is now considered an outbreak.”
The clinic, which is known locally as Bridge Chiropractic, is also under investigation by the state departments of Health and Labor & Industries, according to agency representatives.
Labor & Industries, which oversees workplace safety, launched an investigation late Thursday. Their review will examine if safety and health regulations are being followed. Businesses that don’t comply can face fines.
Meanwhile, state-level health officials said the clinic already generated a handful of complaints during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Columbian newspaper first reported the complaints.
In June, the state Department of Health learned of a “COVID-related” complaint that led them to talk with the clinic about requirements and consequences, said spokesperson Kristen Maki.
The complainant described few staff at the clinic wearing masks, telling the newspaper, “it was like an alternate universe.”
After another complaint surfaced in July, the state Chiropractic Commission, which licenses chiropractors in Washington under the health department, started an investigation.
The investigation began July 30 and is still ongoing, said commission chair David Folweiler. Folweiler said its open case was expanded this week after news came to light about the potential 300 exposures.
According to Folweiler, the commission can discipline the clinic. That could mean fines, remediation or, ultimately, revocation of license.
“We’ve given its licensees information about several proclamations and regulations that they need to adhere to,” Folweiler said.
Chiro One, headquartered in Illinois, could not be reached for comment.