Oregon Indian casino closes after employee gets coronavirus


The third case is an adult from Umatilla County hospitalized in Walla Walla, Wash.

File image (Photo credit Frederic J. Brown/AFP via Getty Images)

SALEM, Ore. (AP) – Leaders of an Indian reservation in Oregon shut down its casino and several other facilities after an employee contracted the coronavirus.

A state health official says the virus is likely circulating and will likely appear in additional locations in the state.

The employee of the Wildhorse Resort and Casino on the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation is hospitalized in nearby Walla Walla, Washington, and is the third COVID-19 case to emerge in Oregon.

The previous two other known cases occurred in the Portland area and had household contacts with each other, but the casino is far east of the city.

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There is no link to any type of travel from regions outside of the country that have reported COVID-19 cases. Health officials said it is considered a case of community transmission.

The patient reportedly attended a youth basketball game at Weston Middle School on February 29. Officials with the Athena-West School District have since closed the gym where the patient likely contracted the virus and have ordered a deep cleaning.

The gym is detached from the school and health officials do not consider the main building to be a risk to students and staff. Other spectators who were inside the gym on Saturday are considered to be “low-risk” exposures.

Health officials said they will announce if there are any additional locations where people may been exposed, if they are determined.

In a statement, Rep. Greg Walden said:

“The Oregon Health Authority has confirmed one case of the coronavirus in Umatilla County. I urge all residents in Umatilla County and throughout Oregon to continue following good health precautions as you would with the seasonal flu or other respiratory illnesses. The best thing you can do is practice good preventative methods like washing your hands and avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth. If you are sick, stay home and stay in contact with your healthcare provider. If you haven’t already, get the flu shot. Our public health providers are the first line of defense for the coronavirus and I will continue to make sure local public health authorities receive the support necessary to address public health needs. My staff and I are in contact with local officials in Umatilla County as well as in regular contact with top federal officials. The situation surrounding the coronavirus is changing, as was anticipated. For the most current information, visit my website at walden.house.gov/coronavirus.”

The second presumptive case of the virus was announced Sunday. The individual who contracted the virus shares a home with the first patient.

In response to the presumed presence of the coronavirus in Oregon, the OHA has started publishing weekly reports of statewide cases. Last week, Governor Kate Brown also created the Coronavirus Response Team to help state and local agencies coordinate their response to the new virus.

KOIN 6 News contributed to this report

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