Port of Kennewick closes offices after worker at public meeting reports illness

The Port of Kennewick has closed its offices and sent nonessential workers home over COVID-19 fears. 

The move comes after the port notified staff and about a dozen people who attended the regularly scheduled meeting of the commission on March 10 that a court reporter working at the session became ill with flu-like symptoms and had reported a fever two days before.  

The Washington Department of Health advises staying away from others for 72 hours after a fever breaks.

The attendees included representatives from the Richland City CouncilArts Center Task Force, Tri-Cities Area Journal of Business, among others. The port’s three commissioners attended, as did several staff members.  

Chief Executive Officer Tim Arntzen participated by phone, along with two other port staffers. 

The individual was hired to provide court reporting services to provide a record of the commission’s meeting.  

The court reporter reportedly had a fever on Sunday, about 48 hours before the meeting, the port said. 

She informed officials she has asthma and believed her symptoms were consistent with prior respiratory illnesses. She reported having symptoms of a respiratory infection.  

“Out of an abundance of caution, the port sent the information to our staff and wanted to share it with you as well,” it informed attendees by email. 

The port’s offices were professionally cleaned and disinfected the day after the meeting. 

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