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Outbreak updates for Tuesday, March 24, 2020

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These are the latest local significant developments of the coronavirus outbreak. Look for more comprehensive coverage of these and other COVID-19 stories on our website,, and in subsequent issues of The Observer.


Officials in Union County have taken another step in preparing for the potential of increasing COVID-19 cases, according to a news release from the NE Oregon Joint Information Center.

There is one confirmed case in the county, but responders are planning for an increase in need from local communities, leading to the formation of an incident management team. According to the center, the team is akin to organizations that manage wildfires or other disasters.

Union County Emergency Services Manager JB Brock, the local incident commander for the COVID-19 response, explained the team “gives us the ability to plan for an increased operational pace, while also providing what our responders need to maximizes effectiveness.”

The team also will help law enforcement, public health and other services and operations to coordinate and plan for a safe and effective response.


The city shut down all park playgrounds, city basketball courts, park restrooms and even downtown’s Max Square. Park spaces themselves will remain open, the city stated, as long as users maintain social distances.

•City Manager Robert Strope announced the city is suspending overtime parking enforcement for the two-hour zones until further notice. Code enforcement continues for other issues.

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Coronavirus FAQ

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.