Port Angeles Hardwood disinfects after erroneous report

PORT ANGELES — Port Angeles Hardwood plans to reopen Monday after shutting down today following what a company official said was an erroneous report of a possible third-party transmission of COVID-19.

“It was a big misunderstanding,” said Jason Thompson, human resources, safety and environmental manager at Cascade Hardwood Group, which owns Port Angeles Hardwood.

“An employee claimed he was possibly exposed by somebody who was possibly exposed to somebody else who was possibly exposed.”

The 70 employees of the mill were sent home today while the equipment was sprayed with a bleach mixture to disinfect it, Thompson said, speaking from Chehalis, Cascade’s home office.

“We did our own investigating and found it wasn’t true,” Thompson said. “We have confirmed 100 percent there was no exposure.”

Dr. Allison Unthank, Clallam County’s public health officer, said that transmission from asymptomatic people is incredibly unlikely.

To get the virus from another person, one must be in extended contact with an infected person who sneezes or coughs, she has said.

Transmission from an infected person who is not sneezing or coughing would be possible only if respiratory droplets were shared in some way other than by breathing them in the air, such as by kissing.

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