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NW Washington Fairgrounds Weathers E. coli Storm

To read a recent Seattle Times article you’d think the NW Washington Fairgrounds was all but being quarantined as a result of a recent E. coli outbreak. But that doesn’t appear to be the case. 

NW Washington Fair & Event Center General Manager Jim Baron emailed media outlets his response to the Seattle Times article tonight. Baron’s concern is warranted as they enter the summer, a busy events season.

Fair management told health officials when discussing future events in the dairy barn that no events were scheduled in the near future. While the health officials recommended that the dairy barn not be used pending completion of the investigation, at no time did they restrict use. In an email discussing the issue, Dr. Scott Lindquist, the Washington state epidemiologist for communicable diseases, said the reporter “clearly stated that she knows we did not issue any orders,” according to Baron.

In short, the fairgrounds is open for business except for the dairy barn where the field trips related to the E. coli outbreak took place. And, according to Baron, the dairy barn is not off-limits due to any mandate or requirement from any health official but due to the fairground management’s own proactive response to the situation.

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During a phone call with Discover Ferndale tonight, Baron confirmed there was nothing to be concerned about regarding future events including the fair. “We are working with state health officials to determine the source of the outbreak. Until we know more it is premature to say this will have any further impact on future events.”

As a result of the E. coli exposure, 15 people were confirmed to be infected and eight required hospitalization. Three developed complications of their illness of which one has recovered enough to be released from the hospital.

Why is Discover Ferndale writing a story about the Lynden fairgrounds? Since Discover Ferndale broke the E. coli outbreak story (hat tip to readers who send in tips) there is a need to continue with the story. 

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