Gov. Brown bans gatherings of 250 or more, nonessential school activities

This illustration, created at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), reveals ultrastructural morphology exhibited by coronaviruses. Credit: Alissa Eckert, MS; Dan Higgins, MAM

Coronavirus resources: CDC on the coronavirusOregon Health Authority resourcesWashington County resourcesOregonian reporting on the coronavirusOPB glossary of coronavirus termsNYTimes free reporting on the coronavirus

OREGON – Oregon Gov. Kate Brown took a sudden series of steps Wednesday night to limit the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus, including banning gatherings of more than 250 people, and canceling non-essential school activities, such as athletic competitions, field trips, and group parent meetings. 

The rules will remain in place for four weeks, and are effective immediately.  

In Banks, school officials will meet Thursday morning to plan their next steps, according to Madalyn Hatcher, a language arts and drama teacher at Banks Middle School.

Hatcher’s drama class is scheduled to perform a series of one-act plays on Friday and Saturday, but with the new rules, Hatcher isn’t sure what lies next.

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“I know that admin are meeting tomorrow morning to talk about what this all means for the district,” Hatcher said in an email to the Banks Post. “Until they say so, the show must go on!”

A press conference originally scheduled for 11 a.m. to cover new steps the governor would be taking was moved to 9 a.m. Thursday morning in Salem.

“Nobody is immune to this virus, it can touch everyone,” said Governor Brown in a statement. “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.”

Brown defined a gathering as “any event in a space in which appropriate social distancing of a minimum of three feet cannot be maintained.”

Gov. Brown also asked businesses to implement measures to distance employees from each other in offices and work sites, limit in-person meetings, reduce travel, and, if possible, stagger work schedules.

This is a developing story and will be updated.

Chas Hundley is the editor of the Banks Post and sister news publications the Gales Creek Journal and the Salmonberry Magazine. He grew up in Gales Creek and has a cat.

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