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Gov. Brown readies more mandates to fight outbreak

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SALEM — Oregon Gov. Kate Brown is working on a multi-pronged mandate to slow the spread of coronavirus, but she is not expected to issue the full-fledged "stay-at-home" order that Portland-area officials want.

Her actions include the closure of all state parks as of Monday. Current campers must leave Monday by 1 p.m. and day-use areas will close at 5 p.m.

"We would have preferred an orderly shutdown of the system and to remain open for daytime visits, but our concern for the effects on rural health care systems requires us to move up and expand our plans," Lisa Sumption, director of the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department, said in a news release. "We know this will cause a disruption, since we're suspending service to everyone, even people who live near a park. Reducing contact between people is more important than recreation at the moment."

According to sources involved in negotiating the order, the governor's other expected actions reportedly include shutting down all businesses involving skin-to-skin contact between staff and customers, such as hair and nail salons; ordering retailers to enforce appropriate spacing between customers; and closing most or all government offices to the public. Brown said last week that she also was considering closing gyms and theaters.

The final order could yet change as deliberations are ongoing.

On Sunday, Brown issued an executive order temporarily blocking residential evictions for nonpayment in Oregon. The order is effective for 90 days.

"This is both a moral and a public health imperative. Keeping people in their homes is the right thing for Oregon families, and for preventing the further spread of COVID-19," she said in a news release.

The chairs of the Multnomah, Washington and Clackamas county commissioners — who represent 1.8 million Oregonians — on Sunday sent a letter to Brown requesting even stronger action.

"We ask that you move boldly to protect the residents of this great state by issuing a clear Stay at Home, Stay Safe Executive Order," said the letter from Washington County Chair Kathryn Harrington, Multnomah County Chair Deborah Kafoury and Clackamas County Chair Jim Bernard.

"As the Chairs of the most populous region in the state, we are preparing to be hit hardest. But here's what we know: our public health officials, as well as our hospital systems, are telling us that the time to act is now."

Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler said Friday his city was prepared to unilaterally issue a stay-at-home order as early as Monday but preferred it include other jurisdictions.

Other Portland-area mayors also have supported such a decree, as have some health organizations. However, there is contradictory statistical modeling about the pace of the virus' spread in Oregon and whether existing "social distancing" measures are sufficient. Those have included banning large gatherings of people and restricting restaurants, coffee shops and bars to only take-out orders or delivery.

Negotiations were going on through the weekend, involving state and local officials and key legislators.

The Legislature's Joint Special Committee on Coronavirus Response meets again Monday at 9 a.m. to discuss proposals from the governor, lawmakers and the public. The tentative plan is for a one-day special legislative session this month to deal with the health and economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The disease has killed at least five people in Oregon. The latest death was a resident of the Oregon Veterans Home in Linn County. A veteran in his 90s, he had tested positive for the disease on March 11 and died Sunday morning.

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According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Can I get COVID-19 from my pets or other animals?

There is no reason at this time to think that any animals, including pets, in the United States might be a source of infection with this new coronavirus that causes COVID-19. To date, CDC has not received any reports of pets or other animals becoming sick with COVID-19 in the United States.

Pets have other types of coronaviruses that can make them sick, like canine and feline coronaviruses. These other coronaviruses cannot infect people and are not related to the current COVID-19 outbreak.

However, since animals can spread other diseases to people, it’s always a good idea to practice healthy habits around pets and other animals, such as washing your hands and maintaining good hygiene.

Should I avoid contact with pets or other animals if I am sick with COVID-19?

You should restrict contact with pets and other animals while you are sick with COVID-19, just like you would around other people. Although there have not been reports of pets or other animals becoming sick with COVID-19, it is still recommended that people sick with COVID-19 limit contact with animals until more information is known about the new coronavirus. When possible, have another member of your household care for your animals while you are sick. If you are sick with COVID-19, avoid contact with your pet, including petting, snuggling, being kissed or licked, and sharing food. If you must care for your pet or be around animals while you are sick, wash your hands before and after you interact with pets.

What about imported animals or animal products?

CDC does not have any evidence to suggest that imported animals or animal products pose a risk for spreading COVID-19 in the United States.

What precautions should be taken for animals that have recently been imported from outside the United States?

At this time, there is no evidence that companion animals, including pets and service animals, can spread COVID-19. As with any animal introduced to a new environment, animals recently imported should be observed daily for signs of illness. If an animal becomes ill, the animal should be examined by a veterinarian. Call your local veterinary clinic before bringing the animal into the clinic and let them know that the animal was recently imported from another country.