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Local COVID-19 updates: Northwood, Outdoors RV shut down plants for virus concerns

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LA GRANDE — La Grande-based Northwood Manufacturing and its related company Outdoors RV announced temporary shut downs of their recreational vehicle manufacturing facilities.

Northwood Investments, the parent company of Northwood Manufacturing and Outdoors RV, issued a news release explaining the closures "are a proactive measure to protect workers and the community as a whole as the coronavirus crisis spreads across the country."

"The global spread of COVID-19 is affecting every one of us," Northwood Investments CEO Craig Orton said in the news release. "The well-being of our employees, their families and our community is our top priority, so we have decided our best course of action at this time is a temporary shut-down," stated Northwood Investments CEO Craig Orton.

According to Business Oregon, the two plants employ 450 people. Northwood Investments did not specify how long the closures would last. The announcement came Monday afternoon in the wake of Gov. Kate Brown’s order prohibiting gatherings involving 25 or more people and urging Oregonians not to convene in groups of more than 10 people, the governor’s most drastic step yet to help contain the new coronavirus. She also banning on-site consumption of food and drink at restaurants and bars and urged any business that isn’t able to expand service to takeout or delivery to evaluate whether they should remain open.

"This is a challenging moment for everyone," Northwood Investments CFO Cerise Smallwood said in the announcement. "Our community has always risen to meet the challenges of the past, and we’ll rise to meet this one, too. We will do that with thoughtful decision making that will best protect everyone in our valley with an emphasis on transparency and communication."

Orton also stated the company is committed to continue serving its dealers and customers and key office and management personnel will be available to handle sales, warranty and service matters.

Oregon Trail Electric Cooperative in a similar move announced it is closing its offices in Baker City, La Grande, John Day and Burns to the public effective Tuesday at 5 p.m.

"The offices will remain closed to walk-in traffic until further notice," according to the cooperative’s announcement. "The drive-through window at our La Grande district office will remain open. Appointments for in-person business will be available by calling 541-523-3616."

Oregon Trail Electric also announced it is temporarily suspending late fees and disconnections.

"Please call our offices at 541-523-3616 if you are having difficulty paying your electric bill," according the news release, "we will work with you to set up a payment plan."

Wallowa-Whitman National Forest Service also closed its offices in Oregon, Washington, and Idaho to the public.

"In accordance with guidance from the Department of Agriculture to limit in-person interactions," according to a news release, "requests for visits to National Forest offices will be limited to necessary and time-sensitive business which cannot be handled over the phone or on the Internet."

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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.

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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.