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18 COVID-19 cases linked to Vancouver, Wash. bar

Health officials advise anyone who visited Orchards Tap Bar and Grill from June 19-25 to request a coronavirus test.
Credit: Google Maps
Orchards Tap Bar and Grill in Vancouver

VANCOUVER, Wash. — A coronavirus outbreak connected to a Vancouver bar has left at least 18 people sick, health officials said on Friday.

Clark County Public Health officials are concerned people who visited Orchards Tap Bar and Grill from June 19-25 may have been exposed to COVID-19 and could be at risk of getting sick. Anyone who visited the bar during that time period should contact their health care provider and request testing for COVID-19, even if they don’t have symptoms, health officials said. 

Those people should also quarantine at home for 14 days from their last day of exposure.

“Given the number of customers who have tested positive, we’re concerned others may be at risk of getting sick,” said Dr. Alan Melnick, Clark County health officer and Public Health director. “We want everyone at risk to get tested so we can isolate those who are contagious and quarantine all of their close contacts as quickly as possible. These steps are necessary to prevent the virus from spreading further.”

An investigation into the outbreak began on June 29 after an employee tested positive for COVID-19. During their investigation, health officials identified people who tested positive for the virus who reported visiting Orchards Tap between June 19 and 25. Of the 18 known cases, four were employees and 14 were customers.

Orchards Tap, which is located on Northeast Fourth Plain Boulevard near Covington Road, voluntarily closed on June 25. 

The outbreak comes as Clark County has seen a rise in cases over the past week. From June 23 to June 30, 162 people tested positive for COVID-19, an average of more than 20 cases per day. During the first three weeks of the month, 164 people tested positive, an average of more than seven cases per day. Forty new cases were reported in the county on Wednesday, the most in a single day during the pandemic.

The county remains in Phase 2 of Washington’s four-phased reopening plan. Officials hoped to be approved to move into Phase 3 this week, but Gov. Jay Inslee on Thursday announced a statewide two-week halt on reopening. Phase 2 allows various businesses to reopen and small gatherings of no more than five people from outside a household per week.

RELATED: Clark County remains in Phase 2 as Gov. Inslee pauses reopenings statewide

The rise in cases has Clark County Public Health urging people to limit Fourth of July gatherings.

"This is a dangerous time for gatherings. We cannot disregard physical distancing simply because it’s a holiday weekend,” Dr. Melnick said earlier this week.

RELATED: Clark County asks people to stay home for July 4 as COVID-19 cases surge