National Guard headed to Pullman to help slow coronavirus

September 2, 2020 GMT

PULLMAN, Wash. (AP) — The number of people testing positive for the coronavirus continues to grow rapidly in Whitman County, and various government agencies are working to slow the spread.

A team from the Washington National Guard was headed to Pullman on Wednesday to set up a COVID-19 testing operation, according to county Director of Public Health Troy Henderson.

Meanwhile, police in Pullman continue to issue tickets to people who are gathering in violation of laws intended to curb spread of the virus.

Henderson said a 25-member team from the National Guard was most recently helping with testing in Yakima.


Washington State University spokesman Phil Weiler said the National Guard was hoping to set up its testing site in an area known as ``apartment land,’′ where many WSU students live near campus.

Adjusted for population size, Pullman has one of the fastest-growing coronavirus outbreaks in the nation, according to a New York Times data dashboard.

Based on numbers from the last two weeks, Pullman had 5.9 new cases of coronavirus per every 1,000 residents, according to the dashboard.

On Tuesday, the Whitman County Health Department reported 50 new positive cases of the coronavirus, for a total of 559 cases.

Most of Pullman’s new coronavirus cases have occurred since WSU students began moving back to the area in recent weeks.

Meanwhile, the Pullman Police Department said Wednesday that it had issued ten nuisance party infractions over the past six days.

The nuisance party ordinance prohibits anyone hosting or otherwise allowing a party or permitting certain activities at that party. Prohibited activities include endangering the health of others, or activity that is detrimental to the public health. Violating Gov. Jay Inslee’s COVID-19 proclamations or ignoring health department orders to wear a face mask, social distance, and not gather in groups of more than 10 are violations of the ordinance.

Violators are subject to a minimum $250 fine for a first offense, and a minimum $350 fine for subsequent offenses.