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LOCAL NEWS: Wahkiakum County Health Director Chris Bischoff talks about reopening

LOCAL NEWS: Wahkiakum County Health Director Chris Bischoff talks about reopening 

Partial script below. Scroll down to Listen. [8:24]

Wahkiakum County is one of ten counties in Washington granted permission to apply for a variance that would allow a faster transition to the second phase of the state’s four phase re-opening plan.  To get approval, counties must have in place – adequate testing capability and a plan for tracking and containment of new cases.  Local public health officials recommendations are a key part of the approval process.  In Wahkiakum County, Chris Bischoff (“BISH-off”) is the Director of Wahkiakum Health and Human Services.  He spoke with Coast Community Radio’s Kathleen Morgain.

Part of Wahkiakum County’s response to the pandemic has been to move public meetings online.  Chris Bischoff has taken public access a step further, holding twice-weekly briefings for county officials and members of the public to be kept abreast of the latest developments.  In a telephone interview,  I asked him if other health directors are also providing this level of transparency. 

 “I think most of the departments that I’m aware of……..

Kathleen:  On Friday, Governor Inslee indicated the state re-opening would be driven by state health officials.  In your opinion, is that the case?

“ Yes, actually there are extremely robust calls…..

Kathleen:  You indicated this morning that testing capacity in the county has increased somewhat.  Can you elaborate on that?

Kathleen:  Many of our listeners are in Pacific County.  Can you share some insight you may have gleaned about the re-opening process there?

Kathleen:  In the re-opening process, you as a county health director, are in a difficult position of finessing pressure from officials higher up and further down the chain of command plus concerns of citizens who can only put off for so long the need to resume work and an income, so how has your approach to all this changed over time and how does it affect the way you do your job?

Kathleen:  Well, Mr. Bischoff, thank you so much for talking with us today, and I appreciate your comments.

HOST TAG:    Wahkiakum County officials are meeting this week to initiate the variance application process.