Governor Jay Inslee spoke to business and ag leaders along with local officials in Yakima Tuesday to discuss the still high numbers of COVID-19 cases that have hit the area.

During a press conference, he noted that there's been considerable effort statewide to protect agricultural workers.

"I think the things we have done about hygiene and spacing and particularly this strategy of cohorts. We have asked people to cohort workers so that you're working with the same group of people all day and all week, so if there is an infection it's only of a smaller cohort and not hundreds of people."

He also said that there needs to be a concerted effort across Washington to increase testing in congregated settings like fruit packing warehouses and manufacturing centers among others.

"This may involve some new state requirements for a regime of testing on a more regular basis and an earlier basis so we can catch these outbreaks before we get 100 people that are infected. It may involve a new educational effort with the workforce about the importance of staying home [when sick]."

Inslee noted many business owners have been doing creative things to stem the tide but it's time for all of us to up our game.

The State Department of Health says, at last count, Yakima County had nearly 6,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 during the pandemic which is the second most in the state.

In comparison, the Chelan and Douglas County areas have a combined 463.

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