145 employees infected by coronavirus outbreak at Washington state Costco

A COVID-19 outbreak at a Costco in Washington state has led to 145 employees becoming infected.

The Yakima Health District said in a statement on Wednesday that there was evidence that the sharp increase mimics the type of activity that happens after a “superspreader” event where multiple people are infected at once.

All of the individuals that tested positive are completing their isolation or quarantine periods, the Health District said. The District recommended the store continue its site-wide testing for their employees to monitor the outbreak going forward.

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Melissa Sixberry, director of Disease Control, said in a statement that they anticipate the number of cases to rise over the next few days as site-wide testing continues.

The Costco employs 383 people, according to KOMO News. Late last week, officials said that 68 employees had tested positive.

The outbreak comes as Yakima County deals with an increase in COVID-19 cases. Larry Jecha, interim health officer, said in a statement that “COVID-19 levels continue to increase throughout the entire county.”

“We are seeing record high hospitalizations this week and we need your help to stop the spread,” Jecha said. “Remember, masks alone are not an effective intervention. It is masks, coupled with social distancing and frequent handwashing, and most importantly, staying home when you are sick, that will help us stop the spread of COVID-19.”

There have been 19,281 coronavirus infections in the county since the pandemic began and 314 deaths, according to a count from the Health District.