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Oregon coronavirus measures include banning 'large gatherings' of more than 250 people

Governor Brown's office sent out an initial statement on the new rules on Wednesday night before holding a press conference the next morning.

Posted: Mar 12, 2020 10:40 AM
Updated: Mar 12, 2020 10:52 AM

PORTLAND, Ore. — Even prior to Governor Kate Brown's announcement of "urgent new rules" on Wednesday night, concerns about the spread of COVID-19 prompted a slow wave of cancelled or postponed events across the state of Oregon.

The Governor's announcement, however, made those precautions explicit — and in some cases, mandatory. She joined Oregon public health officials in holding a press conference on Thursday morning to outline the measures against new coronavirus.


Governor Kate Brown convenes the Coronavirus Response Team (Gov. Kate Brown Press Office / My Oregon News).

Large gatherings

Under the new rules in Oregon, all large gatherings of more than 250 people will be barred for at least the next four weeks.

"A gathering is defined as any event in a space in which appropriate social distancing of a minimum of three feet cannot be maintained," Governor Brown's office said.

NewsWatch 12 is in the ongoing process of updating an article with all cancelled or postponed events in our region. The OSAA announced on Wednesday that it would not allow fans into arenas during the tournament games this week, and the NBA has suspended its regular season.

The Oregon Shakespeare Festival announced the cancellation of all shows for Thursday, March 12 alone, with more plans forthcoming.

Schools & Work

On the other hand, schools are to be kept open. However, the state advises against all "non-essential school-associated gatherings" and group activities — including group parent meetings, field trips, and competitions.

In the workplace, businesses are asked to take "distancing measures" to increase the physical space between employees in offices and worksites. They are asked to limit all in-person meetings, travel, and to stagger work schedules whenever possible.

Long-term care and assisted living

Governor Brown's office announced earlier this week strict limitations on long-term care and assisted living facilities to restrict visitation down to only essential people, and screen visitors for COVID-19 symptoms. Many senior living facilities had already started to take similar precautions after a facility in the Seattle area became the epicenter of a fatal outbreak.

“Nobody is immune to this virus, it can touch everyone,” said Governor Brown. “We can’t let fear and anxiety stigmatize people. We are seeing cases across multiple counties and age groups, and in people exposed through different circumstances. It’s time for us all to do what we can to slow its spread and take care of one another.”

What's next?

Brown's office said that it had submitted an updated request to Vice President Mike Pence, outlining Oregon's needs from the federal government to support coronavirus response efforts in Oregon, as well as anticipated future needs.

Meanwhile, the Oregon Health Authority announced new steps to expand access to COVID-19 testing.

"State epidemiologists have updated COVID-19 testing guidelines to emphasize that outpatient clinicians can order a test for the virus from a commercial laboratory, at their discretion, without OHA authorization," Brown's office said. "In addition, the procedure for collecting a COVID-19 sample is no longer classified as a high-risk, airborne testing process, requiring N95 masks."

Under the new recommendations, health care providers will only be required to wear a regular mask, gown, gloves, and eye protections — making the procedure for safely collecting samples "simpler to administer for health care workers and easier to obtain for patients."

State health officials said that they also have made agreements with five hospital systems to conduct COVID-19 testing, although the state has not yet revealed which hospitals. Anyone considering getting tested is asked to consult with a health care provider before showing up at a clinic or hospital to request one.

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 19366

Reported Deaths: 328
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Multnomah449793
Washington284923
Marion269268
Umatilla206024
Clackamas142136
Malheur67610
Deschutes5408
Lane5233
Lincoln3959
Jackson3941
Union3882
Yamhill38611
Jefferson3113
Morrow3051
Polk29612
Linn25410
Klamath1961
Wasco1703
Hood River1690
Benton1576
Douglas1341
Josephine1071
Coos850
Clatsop820
Columbia790
Crook431
Baker330
Lake320
Tillamook300
Wallowa191
Sherman150
Curry140
Harney80
Gilliam40
Grant20
Unassigned00
Wheeler00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 516851

Reported Deaths: 9441
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Los Angeles1938774702
Orange37813651
Riverside37011695
San Bernardino33432418
San Diego29883565
Kern20651144
Fresno15083138
San Joaquin11885180
Alameda11524189
Santa Clara10794191
Sacramento10122145
Tulare9745189
Imperial9448222
Stanislaus9221112
Contra Costa8033127
Ventura734476
San Francisco691661
Santa Barbara616760
San Mateo5683119
Marin509270
Monterey492430
Kings445356
Merced428550
Solano361137
Sonoma311339
Madera194330
Placer192516
San Luis Obispo190216
Yolo157242
Santa Cruz11524
Butte9417
Napa8888
Sutter7976
San Benito6474
El Dorado6371
Lassen6260
Yuba5024
Shasta3909
Glenn3321
Colusa3314
Mendocino3229
Nevada2991
Tehama2341
Humboldt2334
Lake2081
Mono1451
Tuolumne1412
Amador1260
Calaveras1251
Del Norte880
Siskiyou730
Inyo611
Mariposa572
Plumas330
Trinity50
Alpine20
Modoc20
Sierra20
Unassigned00
Medford
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