An Oregon casino which had shut down for about 48 hours after an employee tested positive for the coronavirus reopened on Wednesday, according to a report in the Yakima Herald-Republic.
Operators closed the Wildhorse Resort and Casino in Pendleton on Monday after an employee tested positive for coronavirus, according to an Associated Press report.
The Wildhorse Resort and Casino has been open since 1994. Casino workers and patrons weren't expecting to be affected by the two previously reported cases of the virus, 215 miles east near Portland. The state's third case of coronavirus turned out to be a casino worker located on the other side of the state.
The casino went through a deep cleaning -- including the casino, conference center, restaurants, a movie theater, hotel and a children’s area -- and tribal officials issued a letter of certification, the Herald-Republic reported.
The Wildhorse Resort facility -- part of a U.S. tribal casino industry that was worth $33.7 billion in 2018 -- is run by the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation. The worker who contracted the virus, also known as COVID-19, operated in a confined area of the casino and wasn't typically on casino grounds. Still, Oregon health officials expected the virus to spread across the state, according to Monday's AP report.
“We know people are scared. We are learning more and more about this disease every day,” Oregon health officer Dr. Dean Sidelinger said.
Sidelinger warned that more cases could be popping up soon.
“With having three cases fairly quickly identified, two of which we can't identify the specific source, that would indicate to us that this disease is circulating in our community and we will likely see additional cases,” Sidelinger said.
The casino wasn't the only facility to be shut down for cleaning. An education facility, the tribal elders community center and the cultural institute at the reservation are undergoing the disinfection process. Community events on the reservation were canceled for the week.
The casino worker lives near the border of Washington. He attended a middle school basketball game in Weston on Saturday. He was hospitalized in Walla Walla, Washington, and was recovering, the Umatilla County Public Health department said, according to the Herald-Republic.
That school's gym is also closed for cleaning.
Health officials advise the public to stay calm and to regularly wash their hands. Patients who contracted the virus are being quarantined for 14 days at home after being treated at the hospital.
The majority of people who contract coronavirus only experience mild symptoms of the disease, but high-risk groups such as seniors and children are at greater risk for more serious complications.
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