COVID-19 Harvest Safety Pt 1

COVID-19 Harvest Safety Pt 1

Bob Larson
Bob Larson
With today’s Fruit Grower Report, I’m Bob Larson. The agricultural community, despite some reports, is taking the COVID-19 pandemic seriously. Challenges of that task, however, are ramping up as we get further into this year’s harvest season.

Washington State Tree Fruit Association president Jon DeVaney says everyone is taking the health of the workforce seriously, especially at this time of year …

DeVANEY … “We’re seeing more harvest activity and more workers in the state, both domestic and international workers, who come to work on harvesting our state’s crops. So, there’s been an increase in people present and activity out in fields and orchards. What we have not seen is an overall increase in the rate or incidence of infections in agricultural workers overall.”

That, DeVaney says wasn’t simple in the beginning …

DeVANEY … “Early on, when there was not a lot of personal protective equipment like masks available, we did see a lot of spread through agriculture because that was one of the few essential industries where people were leaving home to go to work.”

But, DeVaney says that has improved over time …

DeVANEY … “As we have gotten additional PPE and as we have gotten a better handle on what practices will keep the virus from spreading, what is effective, we have seen the case counts among agricultural employers drop significantly.”

Listen tomorrow for more on COVID safety in the tree fruit industry as harvest season gets busy.

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