CLE ELUM, Wash. - Health officials in Kittitas County are asking about 100 people who attended a wedding last week to go get tested for COVID-19, as they say, there’s been an outbreak related to the gathering.
Typically, details of contact tracing are something the public isn’t privy too unless there’s an incident where the number of people possibly exposed is extensive.
“An event with 100 people, we don’t have the capacity to call 90 plus people and say you’ve potentially been in close contact with one of these individuals,” explains Kasey Knutson, a public information officer with the Kittitas County Health Department’s incident management team.
Knutson said that’s why they’re released to the public that anyone who attended a wedding at a cattle ranch on August 2nd should go get tested. This recommendation comes after six guests already have tested positive, five of which are family members, the sixth is not.
“To my knowledge, they were not wearing masks,” said Knutson.
Owners of Cattle Ranch say they provide masks and hand sanitizer but say they just rent out the venue and aren’t on-site to police events. As of today, wedding guidelines are much stricter, but some in the industry are still concerned.
“A lot of people are just going do what they want to do,” said wedding photographer Rebecca Phillips. She said the financial struggle of the industry these days is one thing, trying to stay safe while working weddings is another.
“We want to be there for our clients and we want to do our job but at the same time, we don’t want to be exposed to the virus. I know a vendor who walked out on a wedding because they were not being safe and it was a really hard decision for her to make,” said Phillips.
As COVID-19 ruins so many couples' big days, it seems some are determined to fight it despite the risks.
“I actually got quite a few text messages from fellow industry friends over the weekend of phots of weddings happening all over the place where no masks were being worn and there were large amounts of people, no social distancing,” said Phillips.
Philips said this past weekend was the biggest wedding weekend of the year, with many couples trying to squeeze in tying the knot before Gov. Jay Inslee’s no receptions and 30 people max rule kicked in today.
“I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s a big wave of COVID in a week or two from all the weddings that happened this weekend," said Phillips.
She said a fellow photographer friend just found out today she was exposed to COVID-19 at a wedding from this past Saturday. It’s an unfortunate hazard of their job these days as Phillips says she just hopes people do their part to try to keep everyone safe.
“We’re all in this together, it’s hard for all of us, it sucks for all of us.”
As of Monday, no weddings of over 30 people are allowed and receptions are forbidden according to Inslee's mandates.
If you attended the wedding in Kittitas county on August 2nd, you’re asked by health officials to get tested for the virus. If you do not have a general health provider, Kittitas Public Health urges you to call their temporary COVID-19 clinic at KVH, their number is (509) 933-8850.