BRIDGEPORT — A smaller percentage of people in Bridgeport tested positive for COVID-19 this week than health officials expected.

Officials were looking into whether Bridgeport was a COVID-19 hotspot when the decision was made to offer free testing, said Bruce Buckles, Chelan-Douglas Health District interim administrator. Initial testing of 32 individuals in Bridgeport identified a 30% positive rate, said Rachel Noll, Incident Management Team spokesperson. But only three out of 303 —less than 1 percent — came back positive with COVID-19 after a push to test the entire town.

“Unfortunately this excursion up in Bridgeport was a real zinger to the hypothesis that it could have been a hot spot,” Buckles said.

People should still be cautious, though, in assuming the presence of COVID-19 in the Bridgeport community, as it is a limited portion of the town, Noll said. The testing was voluntary and many people chose not to be tested.

Health officials also ran into some other challenges after the testing was completed, Buckles said. Staff were unable to contact the three people who did test positive. The individuals did not give accurate phone numbers.

The Chelan-Douglas Health District also found out after testing that it is required to contact all the people who did not test positive, Buckles said.

“We didn’t know that until (Monday) in the afternoon,” he said. “Yeah, so we have 300 and some folks to call and we have to figure that out and get some temporary staffing in.”

They also needed to get some bilingual staff to call, because almost all of the people tested had Hispanic surnames, Buckles said.

Buckles said, people were afraid to get tested for many reasons, including:

  • Fear that it would impact their job
  • Fear of health care workers
  • Fear of government officials

“They don’t know what’s involved and fear can be a powerful thing,” he said.

Tony Buhr: 664-7123 or

on Twitter @TonyBuhr