Pendleton confirms: Washougal mill employee positive for COVID-19

The 108-year-old woolen mill is closed for cleaning until at least April 3

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(Post-Record file photo) The Pendleton Mill Store in Washougal pictured in November 2019. The mill store and 108-year-old Pendleton woolen mill are located at 2 Pendleton Way in Washougal. The company confirmed today that a mill employee has tested positive for COVID-19.

Pendleton Woolen Mills has confirmed that an employee at the company’s Washougal textile mill has tested positive for COVID-19. 

KATU first reported the Washougal case on Friday, March 20, and said the Portland television news station had obtained a letter sent home to employees cautioning that any Washougal mill employee who was exhibiting signs of COVID-19 should immediately report to their supervisor.

The disease, caused by a novel coronavirus, has infected more than 373,000 people worldwide and killed more than 16,300 people since being discovered in China in December 2019.

Linda Parker, Pendleton’s director of corporate communications and public relations, said the Washougal mill, located at 2 Pendleton Way, closed Friday, March 20, for cleaning. The company also closed its Pendleton, Oregon, mill. 

“(We make this decision) with utmost concern for our employees, their families and their communities,” Parker said.

The 108-year-old mill is a fixture in the community and employs nearly 200 workers who manufacture wool textiles for use in blankets, men’s and women’s clothing and upholstery.

According to the company, one-third of the employees at the 300,000-square-foot Washougal mill have worked there for at least 25 years. 

The company states on its website that mill tours in Washougal and Pendleton have been suspended as a precautionary measure against COVID-19 until further notice. 

Work at the mill is expected to resume April 3, Parker said, “based on coronavirus directives, completion of cleaning and employee safety.”

Clark County Public Health has confirmed 13 cases of COVID-19 in the county, including four deaths. 

Public Health said this morning that the latest cases included a man in his 50s who had close contact with another confirmed Clark County case, a man in his 80s, and a woman in her 30s who had no known contact with a confirmed case. The man in his 50s is recovering at home. The man in his 80s died March 19, and the woman has been hospitalized. 

Public Health officials are working to identify and notify the close contacts of confirmed cases. All close contacts will be instructed to stay home for 14 days after their last contact with a confirmed case.