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Oregon Governor To Ban Large Public Gatherings Statewide For A Month

<p>Oregon Gov. Kate Brown speaks to reporters in her ceremonial office at the Capitol in Salem, Ore., Monday, Jan. 14, 2019.</p>

Bradley W. Parks

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown speaks to reporters in her ceremonial office at the Capitol in Salem, Ore., Monday, Jan. 14, 2019.

UPDATE (March 11, 10:25 p.m. PT) — Oregon Gov. Kate Brown announced late Wednesday night that she would ban all public gatherings of more than 250 people statewide for four weeks, effective immediately.

The measure is in attempt to slow the spread of novel coronavirus, which the World Health Authority has deemed a pandemic.

"It's time for us all to do what we can to slow its spread and take care of one another," Brown said in a written statement.

The governor had been prepared to announce social distancing measures at an 11 a.m. news conference Thursday. That has been moved to 9 a.m.

The governor's announcement follows a domino effect of cancellations and limitations placed on large events across the region and around the world.

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee announced earlier Wednesday his own state's social distancing measures, banning large events in three Puget Sound-area counties.

Oregon now has 21 diagnosed cases across eight counties. The two most recent patients are both men over the age of 80 and residents at a Lebanon veterans' home.

Brown maintained the state's guidance to keep schools open, according to a press release from her office. The release does say school activities like parent meetings, field trips and sporting events should be canceled.

Shortly after Brown's announcement Wednesday night, the state's two largest school districts, Portland Public Schools and Salem-Keizer Public Schools affirmed they are suspending large group activities, including school assemblies and off-site professional development for teachers. But unlike Seattle Public Schools, classes are continuing.

This story will be updated.

Copyright 2020 Oregon Public Broadcasting

OPB Staff