Coronavirus hadn’t arrived in Baker County as of Friday, but its effects were widespread.

On Thursday alone, Gov. Kate Brown closed public schools statewide from Monday, March 16 through Tuesday, March 31, and the Oregon School Activities Association (OSAA) canceled the Class 4A state basketball tournaments.

The Baker girls, defending state champions, were scheduled to play Valley Catholic Thursday night in a quarterfinal game at the tournament (see more on Page 5A).

Schools are expected to reopen on Wednesday, April 1.

For Baker School District students that means an extra week and two days of spring vacation. Spring break was already scheduled from March 23-27.

In a press release Friday, Baker School Superintendent Mark Witty said district staff “will be discussing plans as to how to provide food options for our students that depend on our breakfast program and lunch programs to meet their nutritional needs.”

In response to Brown’s closure of schools, OSAA announced Friday that all athletic practices and games will be canceled through March 31.

Baker’s spring sports teams had practices and competitions scheduled during that period.


The Saint Alphonsus Health System, which owns the hospital in Baker City, announced visitor restrictions to its hospitals effective Thursday. These include:

• Visitors with respiratory symptoms (cough, wheeze, shortness of breath, congestion) or fever above 100.4° F will be provided a mask and asked to return home or seek medical attention

• Patients with respiratory symptoms or fever, presenting for diagnosis, treatment or other medical care, will be offered a mask before entering a Saint Alphonsus facility and before being permitted to proceed directly to their clinic or care location

• One visitor per patient at a time

• No visitors under 14 years of age

• Do not visit if you are sick

• Only visits from immediate family members, patient advocates and clergy who meet the above criteria will be permitted to visit with patients.

Baker County Library District

All library branches will remain open, but library programs are canceled from March 16 through April 12. Bookmobile service to senior living centers has been suspended.

Oregon Trail Interpretive Center

The BLM facility about five miles east of Baker City is open as usual, and employees are frequently sanitizing surfaces and making hand sanitizer available to visitors.

Heritage Museum

The Baker Heritage Museum, 2480 Grove St., will not open as scheduled for the season today, March 14, due to concerns about the coronavirus, the Museum Commission announced Friday.

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