Document Type


Date of Degree Completion

Spring 2022

Degree Name

Master of Public Health (MPH)


Health Sciences

Committee Chair

Amie Wojtyne

Second Committee Member

Tishra Beeson

Third Committee Member

Katarina Mucha

Fourth Committee Member

Casey Mace-Firebaugh


Yakima County is a rural county with an urban core located in central Washington State. With over 60% of its workforce dedicated to agriculture, food production, and other essential industries, the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has been particularly compounded in Yakima County populations. Factors such as low decision-making power, limited ability to social distance, and occupational limitations such as fear of job loss, non-compliance with immigration regulations, and lack of representation have yet to be explored during the COVID-19 Delta variant (Delta) surge in conjunction with environmental conditions. This study utilized a novel, online survey of Yakima County residents, 18 years of age or older, living within the county zip codes, who were able to complete the survey in English or Spanish. Study participants who reported working in agriculture, farming, or food production industries (n=89) were examined using self-efficacy survey items related to respondents' self-reported confidence to perform select COVID-19 prevention behaviors. Chi-square tests of proportions were used to detect differences in occupational status and the role it plays on an individuals' ability to execute behaviors that may protect them from increased occupational risk of exposure to the COVID-19 virus. Self-efficacy was measured by the novel, unvalidated Confidence Variable and the novel, unvalidated Environmental Impact on Confidence Variable. These new variable measurements for agricultural workers were insignificant when associated with positive COVID-19 test results. Based on the results, there is a possibility that the recruitment techniques of the primary study did not reach the agricultural workers truly at risk for occupational exposures in Yakima County. The results represent a need for greater representation in occupational health sampling and disease reporting.