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Gov. Kate Brown has extended Oregon's public K-12 school closures to April 28—adding four weeks to her original plan to close schools until March 31.

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In a press release sent Tuesday afternoon, Brown said the school closure plan was extended to help slow the spread of COVID-19 in Oregon.

“I do not take the decision to extend school closures lightly,” Brown said. “This will have real impacts on Oregon’s students, parents, and educators. But we must act now to flatten the curve and slow the rate of COVID-19 transmission in Oregon, otherwise we face a higher strain on our medical system and greater loss of life to this disease.”

The Oregon Health Authority announced that there were 19 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday, bringing the state's total number of confirmed cases up to 66.