Brown weighs shutting bars/restaurants to fight COVID-19

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Oregon Gov. Kate Brown said Sunday evening she’s considering shutting down bars and restaurants in the state as Public Health officials have announced that three more people have tested positive for COVID-19, bringing the number of confirmed cases there to 39.

One of the new cases is in Deschutes County.

Brown said she would make a final decision on Monday after speaking to local leaders. She said her options were a curfew for bars and restaurants or total closure. The governor said she’s trying to find a way that the hospitality industry can survive.

“I’m honestly looking for an Oregon way to do this,” Brown said. “Any decision I make…has very real impact.”

Other governors have instituted such measures. Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker on Sunday ordered all bars and restaurants in the state to close for two weeks to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus. California Gov. Gavin Newsom on Sunday called for all bars, wineries, nightclubs and brewpubs to close in the nation’s most populous state.

The Oregon Health Authority says one of the new cases is a staff member at the Oregon Veterans’ Home in Lebanon, where nine residents have tested positive. The staff member was sent home when symptoms developed and has remained in isolation.

The other new cases were in Deschutes and Yamhill counties.

Oregon has reported one death from the disease caused by the coronavirus: a Multnomah County man in his 70s with underlying health problems who was hospitalized at the Portland Veterans Affairs Medical Center. He had no known contact to a confirmed case and had not traveled to a country where the virus is circulating. Officials said he died Saturday.

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