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Local group urges state to do more to protect ag workers from COVID-19

Angela Kerndl


Apr 23, 2020

YAKIMA COUNTY -- The President's order limiting immigration won't affect temporary visas, meaning H-2A workers will still be able to come to the Yakima valley. One local group says more needs to be done in the state to protect those workers.

Agricultural workers make up a large part of the labor force here in the valley. Those people still have to go in to work amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

"At least 70 individuals who work at some sort of agriculture or food production industry did test positive for COVID-19," said Lilian Bravo, of the Yakima Health District, at a press conference on Tuesday.

The health district says those numbers could be even higher, and they'll continue to track them.

They say critical infrastructure workers are at a higher risk of COVID-19 infection and agricultural workers are vulnerable because of their inability to stay home.

For critical infrastructure, they recommend the same guidelines they do for the general public, including social distancing and frequent hand washing. The health district also recommends workers stay home when they're sick and check their temperatures daily.

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