Saturday Updates: More Counties Approved For Washington’s Phase 2, Some Counties On Hold

By OPB Staff (OPB)
May 23, 2020 2:38 p.m.

UPDATE (4:03 p.m. PT) — Seven counties Saturday were approved to move to Phase 2 of Washington Gov. Jay Inslee's reopening plan, while some counties' applications have been put on hold due to outbreaks.

Washington state Secretary of Health John Wiesman approved Phase 2 applications for Cowlitz, Grant, Island, Jefferson, Mason, Pacific and San Juan counties.


Kittitas and Clark counties had also applied for Phase 2, but both counties’ applications are being discussed further due to outbreak investigations.

Health officials in Clark County Friday confirmed an outbreak at a Vancouver fruit company which includes at least 38 positive coronavirus cases.

Oregon at nearly 3,900 known coronavirus cases

The Oregon Health Authority Saturday reported the state has 3,888 known coronavirus cases.

That number includes positive tests and presumptive cases. Presumptive cases are people who have not tested positive but have coronavirus symptoms and have come into close contact with a positive case.

The Health Authority announced no new COVID-19-linked deaths Saturday, leaving Oregon’s confirmed coronavirus death total at 147.

Oregon COVID-19 Map

Jacob Fenton, The Accountability Project at the Investigative Reporting Workshop 

Clark County at more than 400 cases


The public health agency in Clark County, Washington, announced Friday that eight more residents have tested positive for COVID-19. In total, 427 people have tested positive and 25 people have died.

The most recent data from the Washington Department of Health show 19,117 confirmed coronavirus cases in the state and 1,044 known deaths.

COVID-19 outbreak confirmed in Vancouver

At least 38 people have tested positive for COVID-19 as part of an outbreak at a Vancouver fruit company, an official with Clark County Public Health confirmed Friday night.

The outbreak involves at least 24 people at the Firestone Pacific Foods facility in Vancouver, as first reported by The Oregonian/OregonLive.

Company and health officials have said the facility at the center of the outbreak is now closed. Marissa Armstrong with Clark County Public Health said in an email to OPB that Firestone and the Vancouver Clinic were working together to test all employees who could have been exposed at the facility.

“As of [Friday] morning, there were 12 cases associated with the facility (two are not Clark County residents). As of [Friday] evening, an additional 26 people have tested positive,” Armstrong said. Testing will continue for the next few days, she said, so more positive cases are possible.

News of the outbreak came the same day that Clark County officials announced they were applying to Washington state for permission to relax COVID-19 restrictions, after making progress in controlling the virus.

Clark County was made eligible to apply for Phase 2 status earlier in the week week, when Gov. Jay Inslee’s announced new criteria.

Related: 38 Test Positive For COVID-19 At Vancouver Fruit Processor

Washington's Phase 2 allows restaurant dining at diminished capacity, as well as some opening of salons and increased retail and construction activity. Eligibility and approval benchmarks include case trends, as well as having hospital capacity should case numbers rise. Washington state health officials will also look at a county's ability to trace the spread of the virus and protect vulnerable populations.

Oregon self-serve gas rules end Saturday night

The Oregon Office of the State Fire Marshal is ending its temporary self-serve gasoline rules Saturday night, May 23. It had allowed self-serve gas around the state amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Starting Sunday, gas attendants will again be providing service at gas stations where self-service was not allowed before the pandemic.

In some coastal and Eastern Oregon counties, self-serve gasoline is allowed in some circumstances. That will not change.

The office temporarily lifted the statewide ban on self-service gasoline in March to address a potential lack of workers and to limit interaction between workers and customers.

“We want to thank Oregonians and many Oregon businesses who provide gasoline for their patience as we allowed for voluntary self-service at Oregon gas stations where that service had not been available before,” State Fire Marshal Jim Walker said in a statement.