King City has announced temporary restrictions at public parks due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The city government said Saturday, March 21, that it is no longer allowing people to use public basketball courts or play equipment. Parks themselves remain open.
The closure is indefinite, as experts differ on their estimates of when COVID-19 cases will peak in Oregon and what measures will need to be taken after the number of cases begins to drop.
COVID-19 is caused by the novel coronavirus. Cases were first diagnosed in humans late last year in Wuhan, China.
The first COVID-19 case was detected in Oregon, in a Washington County resident, on Feb. 28. As of Sunday, there are now 161 known cases in Oregon, and five patients have died. Public health officials say there are likely many more cases that haven't been diagnosed due to a lack of testing.
Symptoms of COVID-19 can closely resemble cold- or flu-like symptoms, including a fever and a dry cough. However, the illness can present itself in several different ways, with some patients reporting no fever and others experiencing shortness of breath that can potentially lead to pneumonia and difficulty breathing. Many patients in the United States have also reported gastrointestinal distress.
Studies show that COVID-19 can be transmitted by people who have been infected with the virus even if they are experiencing mild symptoms or no symptoms at all.
Although younger people can become critically ill, the risk of complications is much higher among older adults and people with underlying health conditions. Most people who become sick will recover on their own.
King City is the only city in Washington County with a median age above 55. The city was originally founded as a 55-and-over community, and while it is now home to many younger residents and families as well, it still has the highest median age in the region.
Other city facilities have been closed to the public, including City Hall, as city officials work to prevent the virus from spreading in King City.
Neighboring Tigard has also closed play areas, including basketball courts.
Gov. Kate Brown has urged residents to stay home if possible and avoid close contact with other people if they go out in public.
By Mark Miller
Washington County Editor
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