For the first time in its 25 year history, Wildhorse Resort and Casino located in Pendleton, Oregon, has announced a temporary closure of its facilities due to an employee testing positive for the Coronavirus.
The leaders of the American Indian reservation shut down the casino and several other facilities following the coronavirus confirmation, with a state health official commenting that the virus is likely to be circulating and is most likely set to reappear throughout the state.
The infected employee has since been hospitalized in Washington and is reportedly the third case to have contracted the COVID-19 virus in Oregon.
Speaking to the Associated Press, Dean Sidelinger, state health officer and state epidemiologist, advised: “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.”
Chuck Sams, communications director for the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation, owners and operators of the Wildhorse Resort and Casino, revealed that the tribe was informed Monday morning that an employee of the resort and casino had tested positive for the virus.
The employee in question, whose identity has not been revealed, is a male who reportedly worked in a confined area of the casino and as such was not in regular contact with the general public.
That said, reports have emerged that place him at a youth basketball game in Weston, Oregon, on Saturday. Consequently, school district officials have closed the gymnasium for cleaning purposes. Regarding other spectators who may have been in close proximity to the Wildhorse worker, the state health authority has stated that they would be considered “low-risk” exposures.
Sams added: “I think people have very strong concerns with this. The tribe has tried to make sure that people are calm and we’re just trying to make sure that there’s an overabundance of precaution by these closures to clean facilities just so that we can ensure that the disease doesn’t spread.”
As of yet, there is no confirmation regarding how the individual contracted the virus as he had not traveled to a known affected area with cases of COVID-19.
Wildhorse Resort and Casino has stated that all community events will be canceled for the remainder of the week, with the casino, an education facility, tribal elders community center and the cultural institute also being shut down for a number of days for disinfection purposes.