Wildhorse Resort & Casino in Oregon Closed After Worker Tests Positive for Coronavirus

Posted on: March 3, 2020, 04:29h. 

Last updated on: March 3, 2020, 09:31h.

The Wildhorse Resort & Casino in Oregon said Monday it would close temporarily “out of an abundance of caution” after one of its workers was declared presumptive positive for the novel coronavirus, Covid-19.

Wildhorse coronavirus
The Wildhorse casino was “closed for cleaning” on Monday after one of its workers tested positive for the Covid-19 coronavirus. (Image: Ben Lonergan/Hermiston Herald)

It’s the third presumed case in the state. Health officials said the infected party had not recently traveled abroad, and if confirmed, it will be a case of community transmission.

“Presumptive positive” means there has been a positive test at the Public Health Laboratory that is pending confirmation from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The age or gender of the patient have not been made public. But it has been reported they are an adult living in Umatilla County and have been hospitalized in Walla Walla, Washington.

Health officials are concerned because the infected person recently attended a youth basketball game at an Umatilla County middle school, although the risk of infection for anyone attending the game remains low, they said.

Oregon Coronavirus Could be Widespread

The Wildhorse is owned and operated by the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation (CTUIR). A spokesperson for the tribe said the casino would be closed for a “thorough and deep cleaning” and hoped to reopen on Tuesday morning.

“Updates will be posted at wildhorseresort.com regarding the reopening schedule. The closure includes the casino, convention center, hotel, Cineplex, Children’s Entertainment Center, and restaurants. All activities are canceled including casino promotions and events until further notice,” said an official statement.

CTUIR told Oregon Public Broadcasting it was working with the Umatilla County Health Department to help trace anyone who may have had contact with the infected employee.

Oregon Health Authority state officer Dr. Dean Sidelinger said Monday that the fact that the three presumptive cases recorded so far in the state appear to have come about by community transmission and do not seem to share a commonality suggests the virus is more widespread in the state.

In neighboring Washington State, there have been 18 confirmed cases of Covid-19 and five people have died.

Las Vegas Braces Itself

The news of the Wildhorse closure comes as the US casino industry is bracing itself for the impact of the virus. While there were no confirmed cases in Nevada as of Tuesday, Las Vegas’s casinos are expecting a downturn in VIP revenues as the loss of Chinese tourism takes its toll.

Meanwhile, conferences across the country are being canceled. On Monday, Adobe said it would abandon its annual summit, which was due to be held at the Sands Expo Convention Center from March 29 to April 2. The conference will now take place online.

Many US casino companies rely on Macau for a large portion of their revenues. The gambling hub was forced to close its casinos for two weeks last month at a cost of billions to the sector and business remains slow because of widespread travel restrictions in the region.