Portland River Cruise Company Experiences an Outbreak of COVID-19 as Multnomah County’s High Case Counts Continue

Portland Spirit and other cruise boats have been pulled off the water till Saturday, as the state reports 191 new cases.

Portland Spirit on the Willamette, near the Burnside and Marquam Bridges. (Ian Sane / Flickr)

A Portland river cruise company reports seven of its employees have tested positive for COVID-19.

American Waterways Inc. runs the Portland Spirit, a popular day-cruise and chartered boat on the Willamette and Columbia rivers. Six of the workers are in the firm's Portland office and one is in the Cascade Locks office, according to the company.

None works aboard the Portland Spirit or other boats, says Daniel H. Yates, president of American Waterways.

"We have closed our main office for extensive cleaning and have isolated out all impacted employees," says Yates. "To be cautious, we have suspended operations of Portland-based vessels for deep cleaning, and they will be out of service till Saturday."

That outbreak has not been reported by the Oregon Health Authority. It may have fallen below OHA's benchmarks for reporting a workplace outbreak. The agency typically releases information in its daily updates only on outbreaks of 20 or more cases. (OHA also does not report outbreaks at workplaces with 30 or fewer employees.)

Today, OHA reported 191 new cases of COVID-19 in Oregon, with 44 in Multnomah County and 42 in Washington County. That continues a pattern of high case counts in the Portland region as the city reopens.

OHA also reported a workplace outbreak of 37 cases at the food processing company Lamb Weston in Umatilla County. The county has seen a recent uptick in cases.

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