PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Businesses and schools in the Portland metro area are reacting to the news of the state’s first presumptive case of the coronavirus. The Oregon Health Authority announced the development during a Friday press conference and identified the patient as a Washington County resident who works within the Lake Oswego School District. Over the weekend, several school districts took time to assess and prepare their cleaning needs. Local companies such as Columbia Sportswear and Nike also became concerned.

Portland’s business giants

The president and CEO of Columbia Sportswear tried to reassure employees on Sunday that the company will remain strong despite any challenges brought on by the coronavirus. In a video sent out to the company’s Chinese partners, Boyle appeared to reassure everyone that the company will get through this financially, should anything happen.

Columbia Sportswear CEO Tim Boyle speaks in a video concerning the coronavirus sent out to the company’s partners. February 2020 (Courtesy Columbia Sportswear)

“It’s uncertain what will happen in the world, frankly, as it related to the virus,” said CEO Tim Boyle. “But please know the company is concerned about your health and safety, but also about the safety of others who work for the company and the vendors who supply for the company.”

“Fortunately, we have a very, very strong financial backing and so we are able to weather storms that otherwise might hurt other companies,” Boyle said in the video.

Nike also closed its world headquarters in Beaverton over the weekend for cleaning and issued a statement that read:

“We aware of the presumptive case of coronavirus (COVID-19) in Lake Oswego. While we have no information indicating any exposure to Nike employees, out of an abundance of caution, we are conducting a deep cleaning of campus. All WHQ buildings and facilities, including fitness centers, will be closed over the weekend.”

Dr. Lora de la Cruz, Lake Oswego Superintendent, explains why they decided to close Forest Hills Elementary through March 4th. February 29, 2020 (KOIN)

Public schools on high alert

Schools were on alert after an employee at Lake Oswego’s Forest Hills Elementary was identified as the first presumptive case of the coronavirus in Oregon on Friday.

“We are all hands on deck this weekend. We asked our custodial staff to be in buildings to ensure a deep cleaning,” said Dr. Lora de la Cruz, Lake Oswego’s Superintendent, during a Saturday afternoon press conference following the news of the coronavirus in Oregon. “We have contracted with a company called Servpro, who is evaluating the school at this time so we can make plans for deeper cleaning.”

The Beaverton School District posted a notice to staff and families concerning the coronavirus on Saturday as well.

“We wanted to update you regarding novel coronavirus or COVID-19 in Oregon. We are monitoring the situation closely and are in daily contact with our local public health department. Based on current information, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and our local and state public health departments continue to consider that the risk to most Oregonians is low. 

“The Beaverton School District is continuing to take precautions to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and is in the process of stepping up planning and preparation for the potential that COVID-19 could affect our schools. We have no current plans to close or cancel school or classes.”

Continuing coverage on coronavirus here

Portland Public Schools also responded to the news of the new virus appearing in the state with an email to students and staff similar to other districts’. The district said it was developing contingency plans and identifying best practices—both proactive and reactive. PPS custodial staff is ramping up cleaning practices and said, if needed, the district will reach out to a professional firm for deep-cleaning efforts.

The Oregon Health Authority has set up a webpage that includes statewide tracking of COVID-19, the coronavirus, and provides weekly updates of the number of cases that are being monitored or are under investigation.