NEWPORT, Ore. -- Pacific Seafood, a processing plant in Newport, is the epicenter of an outbreak so large it contributed to Oregon's highest single day count of new cases since the start of the pandemic.
Lincoln County is still in phase one. They haven't even applied for phase two and a spokesperson with the public health department says whether they will or not is up in the air.
"We learned overnight we became the second largest outbreak in the state of Oregon," said Susan Trachsel. "They tested every single employee and of those 364 tests, 124 came back positive."
Trachsel said they were prepared for something like this, but not all at once.
"We've never hit the max capacity of what we have. This did, which is why a private contractor was brought in by the company because he got it all done in one day," she said.
She said another challenge was that a large number of the positive tests were from people who spoke Spanish as their first language.
"From the college nursing program, from our sheriff's department, to the hospital itself, they have all offered up people who we can get trained just in time to get this contact tracing done," she said.
The public health department only has two full-time nurses, but they are training people in-house to be contact tracers and will soon have 12.
Trachsel also said no one is currently in any of their hospitals, but they do have surge capacity, meaning they can handle an influx of cases should that happen.