[Tweeters] News story about Skagit group

Mark Ahlness mahlness at gmail.com
Fri Mar 27 09:08:01 PDT 2020

Because the area is such a popular birding destination, sending this on....

>From the NY Times yesterday, about an incident in Skagit County on March 10:

*March 26, 2020, 6:15 p.m. ETMarch 26, 2020 March 26, 2020*
By Mike Baker <https://www.nytimes.com/by/mike-baker>

A choir group had 60 people show up for practice. Now 45 are sick.

Before social distancing requirements were in place in Washington State
earlier this month, members of a choir group took their own coronavirus
precautions. They told singers not to attend practice if they had even a
hint of illness.

Yet the virus has devastated the Skagit Valley Chorale, based in the rural
valley north of Seattle that is famous for its tulip production. Of the 60
people who attended a March 10 practice, 45 have developed symptoms and 27
so far have tested positive, officials said. One of the group’s members has
died, another has been hospitalized and others have struggled to overcome
their illness.

Polly Dubbel, the communicable disease and environmental health manager at
Skagit County Public Health, said the case was a disturbing example of how
contagious coronavirus can be and how it can spread among groups even when
no one is symptomatic.

“It’s really too high risk for people to gather close together,” Ms. Dubbel
said. “This just really illustrates that.”

Ruth Backlund, a co-president at the Skagit Valley Chorale, said the group
was monitoring public health guidelines at the time of the practice and had
asked people to stay home if they showed even minor signs of illness. The
group gathered in rows facing a piano and a choir director. They were all
in individual chairs and had space to keep separated. Ms. Backlund had made
sure there were extra soap dispensers in the bathrooms for people to wash
their hands.

“Nobody was sick. Nobody touched anybody. Nobody shook hands. Nobody hugged
everybody like you might do in a group. There was none of that,” Ms.
Backlund said.

Mark Ahlness
mahlness at gmail.com
Seattle, WA
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