Gov. Kate Brown announced on Tuesday she is restricting visitors to all nursing and residential care facilities, adult foster homes and group homes for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities in her latest efforts to stem the spread of coronavirus.
There are exceptions for medical personnel and for Oregonians who are in the end stages of life.
“While these decisions are difficult, they are the only way to flatten the curve of transmission,” Brown said on a daily call she is holding with reporters. “We have to stand together to fight this disease.”
Brown noted that the elderly and those with weakened immune systems appear to be most vulnerable to COVID-19. The novel coronavirus tore through a long-term care facility in Kirkland, Washington, killing dozens of residents and becoming the center of Washington's ongoing outbreak.
Brown's decision comes on the heels of her move on Monday to ban seated dining at the state's bars and restaurants. She is also prohibiting gatherings of more than 25 people.
But notably, Brown’s new social distancing restrictions do not apply to childcare facilities. Brown is allowing them to remain open.
The governor said children are seemingly less impacted by the virus, and she would rather have them in childcare than at home being watched by a more vulnerable person, such as an elderly aunt, she said.
The Early Learning Division is however urging providers who might be at high-risk to consider their health when considering whether to stay at work. Childcare facilities will be given more flexibility to work with fewer restrictions during this time, according to the Early Learning Division.
This story may be updated.