Virus watch - 3/23/20

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CASES: Global — 292,142 confirmed cases as of this morning, 12,784 deaths. U.S. — 33,404 confirmed cases, 400 deaths. Washington — 1,996 confirmed cases, 95 deaths. Oregon — 161 confirmed cases, four deaths. Walla Walla County — One confirmed case, 143 tests awaiting results, 35 negative results returned. Columbia County — One confirmed case. Umatilla County — Two confirmed cases. Benton County — Seven confirmed cases, two deaths. Franklin County — Three confirmed cases.

  • The Oregon State Park system will close at the end of the day today. Day-use areas will be closed starting today at 5 p.m. Campers need to check out no later than 1 p.m. The Oregon Parks and Recreation Department previously ordered a campground closure that would have started April 3 and advised travelers to avoid day trips to full parks. With new guidance from the governor, and clear signs that travelers are not following advice to avoid full parks, a statewide state park closure is necessary. Beaches can be closed by the park system at its discretion and will be closed if social distancing practices are not followed. All daytime park services will be closed statewide, including parking areas and restrooms. Campers will be refunded for all canceled nights. All travelers are advised to follow the guidance to stay home to stay healthy. City and county parks and other public land managers are open at their discretion, with the recommendation they do so only if they can adhere to social distancing practices.
  • Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission, Department of Fish and Wildlife and the Department of Natural Resources have announced the closure of all state campgrounds to help reduce the spread of COVID-19. Campgrounds will remain closed through April 30. The closure includes roofed accommodations like cabins and yurts. No new campers will be allowed into Parks, WDFW or DNR lands beginning today. Current campers will be phased out following instructions from land officials. Day-use areas and trails remain open. Due to the volume of people visiting Washington’s ocean beaches, the public is asked to avoid those areas. People should continue to practice social distancing when recreating outdoors.
  • The American Red Cross faces a severe blood shortage due to an unprecedented number of blood drive cancellations in response to the coronavirus outbreak. Healthy people are needed to donate. People can schedule an appointment to give blood with the American Red Cross by visiting, using the Red Cross Blood Donor App, calling 1-800-RED-CROSS or activating the Blood Scheduling Skill for Amazon Alexa. Local blood drives are listed at; however, people should check before they go in case these are canceled.

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