The latest news stories in the Klamath Basin and around the state of Oregon from Wynne Broadcasting’s KFLS News/Talk 1450AM/102.5FM, BasinLife.com and The Herald & News.
Monday, March 30, 2020
Klamath Basin Weather
Rain likely. Cloudy, with a high near 46. Gusty winds at times. Snow level 4900 feet. New precipitation amounts between a tenth and quarter of an inch possible. Overnight, more rain with a low of 34.
Morning rain and snow showers likely. Snow level 4500 feet. High near 47. Overnight low of 25.
Mostly sunny, with a high near 46. Overnight low of 21.
Sunny, with a high near 52.
Partly sunny, with a high near 53.
A chance of morning rain and snow. Snow level 4400 feet. Partly cloudy with a high near 53.
The Klamath County Public Health Air Advisory is Green until noon today.
Klamath County Public Health announced two new cases of the COVID-19 coronavirus on Saturday. One person who tested positive had recently traveled, and the other case is believed to have been community-spread.
These cases bring Klamath County’s total to four cases, but Saturday marks the area’s first case of community spread. Public Health is not releasing any identifying information for either person as it wants to preserve the privacy of the individuals.
In Klamath County the expectation is that these individuals and their families be able to recover without being the targets of social media attacks and the stigmatization that has occurred in other Oregon communities. Public Health is notifying anyone it believes to have been in contact with the people and at risk of exposure “to prevent further exposure within the community.”
People who have had a fever, dry cough, or difficulty breathing are asked to remain home until 72 hours after the symptoms stop without the use of medication. Anyone needing medical help is asked to call ahead so protective measures can be taken. Individuals with life-threatening symptoms should go to the emergency room.
According to OHA’s website, 84 COVID-19 tests have returned negative from Klamath County.
Southern Oregon Covid-19 cases as of Monday 8am:
- klamath County: 2 new cases (4 total)
- Jackson County: 11 new cases (19 total)
- Josephine County: 1 new case (6 total)
The Oregon Health Authority reported Saturday that COVID-19 had claimed one more life in Oregon, raising the state’s death toll from 12 to 13 as of Saturday.
OHA also reported 65 new cases of COVID-19, bringing the state total to 548, as of Sunday.
The COVID-19 new cases reported today are in the following counties: Benton (3), Clackamas (5), Clatsop (1), Deschutes (2), Jackson 11), Josephine (1), Linn (4), Marion (11), Multnomah (14), Polk (1), Umatilla (1), Washington (18), Yamhill (2). Klamath County’s two new cases are not included in the tally.
Oregon’s 13th COVID-19 death is a 93-year-old male in Yamhill County, who tested positive on March 18, and died March 27 at Providence Newberg Medical Center. He had no known underlying medical conditions.
A new shipment of COVID-19 test swabs, combined with additional testing capacity at Oregon hospitals will allow thousands more tests to be performed across the state in the next few days.
Governor Kate Brown announced last week that Oregon has received a shipment of 4,000 testing swabs from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. That will help alleviate the swab shortage that has prevented Quest Diagnostics from fulfilling a contract to perform 20,000 additional tests in Oregon for COVID-19.
The governor said she is expecting to see testing ramp up significantly with an additional 1,000 tests per day over the next few days. The state now has the capacity to process COVID-19 tests at the Quest and LabCorp private labs. Brown also said she understood that more Portland-area health care systems were processing tests in-house, joining Providence and Oregon Health & Science University, but that could not be confirmed. The testing push by hospitals adds to what’s being done by the Oregon State Health Lab.
As of Wednesday, nearly 6,000 people had been tested for COVID-19 in Oregon with 548 people testing positive. Ten people in the state have died with the disease.
President Donald Trump has approved a major disaster declaration for Oregon due to the coronavirus outbreak the White House announced Sunday. The declaration orders federal assistance to aid state, tribal and local recovery efforts.
The order is back-dated to January 20 and brings to 18 the number of states with disaster declarations due to the coronavirus. Governor Kate Brown declared a state of emergency on March 8.
On March 23, she issued an executive order directing residents to stay home to the maximum extent possible and ordered the closure of retail businesses where close personal contact is difficult to avoid, such as hair salons, gyms and theaters.
Klamath Falls City Council has set aside $135,000 in support of city businesses during the COVID-19 crisis. From the funds reserved, $10,000 is being provided immediately to the Klamath-Lake Counties Food Bank.
Of the remaining fund, $25,000 is being coordinated with Klamath County to assist local restaurants. Klamath Falls City Council is seeking input for how best to utilize the remaining $100,000 to make the best impact on sustaining and supporting local businesses.
A virtual suggestion box is available on the Klamath Falls City website at www.klamathfalls.city, as well as on the city Facebook page at www.facebook.com/TheCityofKlamathFalls, where citizens can submit their ideas on ways to assist City businesses.
The suggestion box will remain open until April 10th at which point City staff will present citizens’ ideas submitted to City Council. A winner or potential multiple winning ideas will be selected among the ideas submitted, with each selected idea submission eligible to receive a prize.
Gospel Mission serving meals, needs donations.
With demand for shelter during the COVID-19 pandemic growing, the Klamath Falls Gospel Mission continues to serve free meals to the public but is currently having to turn people away if they need a place to stay overnight due to limited bed space.
The mission continues to serve meals during the day in order to help meet the need for food during this time. Kent Berry, interim director said he’s seen individuals bringing in milk, eggs, and canned goods and continued donations are welcome.
The biggest need currently is in the form of monetary donations, however. He noted that revenues are down, especially with the temporary closure of the mission’s thrift store located in downtown Klamath Falls. The mission facilities are being cleaned multiple times each day and all those who enter the mission must wash their hands.
Public meals are served at 6:30 a.m., noon, and 5 p.m.
Oregon will allow drivers to pump their own gas until April 11 in order to reduce contact that could spread the coronavirus, the state fire marshal announced early Saturday morning.
According to State Fire Marshal Jim Walker during this unprecedented time of state emergency we need to ensure that critical supply lines for fuels and other basic services remain uninterrupted. It’s difficult for gas station attendants to maintain the recommended 6-foot distance from other people while taking payment and refueling some vehicles. Some fuel companies already allowed customers to pay for gas using company-specific applications on their smartphones.
The change means countless drivers will be touching fueling and payment equipment at gas stations, so they will need to sanitize or wash their hands after getting gas in order to minimize their chances of contaminating their steering wheels and other things they subsequently touch.
From the Oregon Health Authority
The fight against the coronavirus depends on Oregon hospitals having enough beds to treat the coming surge in patients who will become seriously ill with the virus.
Today, Oregon health officials and hospitals announced a joint statewide action plan to dramatically bolster the state’s ability to treat people with COVID-19 illness who need hospital care.
The plan was developed by the “Governor’s Joint Task Force for Health Care Systems Response to COVID-19,” convened by the Oregon Health Authority (OHA). It includes a broad range of health systems, health care providers, human services organizations, public health and public safety agencies, insurers and other organizations needed in the battle.
The plan addresses 4 urgent actions necessary to expand the health care system’s capacity and maintain its capability as Oregon braces for a projected spike in new coronavirus cases:
- Procure and distribute critical medical supplies, including personal protective equipment (PPE) for health care workers and ventilators.
- Optimize hospital capacity to be able to treat COVID-19 cases.
- Mobilize the health care workforce to respond to COVID-19.
- Maintain a unified, coordinated and transparent emergency response to COVID-19.
New projections of COVID-19 cases in Oregon show the state is at a critical moment in the fight against the disease. Social distancing measures could alter the trajectory of new infections, which gives Oregon’s health care system the chance to ramp up to meet the coming surge. But the state has little margin for error. A return to “business as usual” or slight differences in actual infection rates (compared to projected ones) could swamp hospitals with more coronavirus cases than they could treat.
Governor Brown said, “Hospital leaders and health officials are doing their part to find beds, secure supplies and protect health care workers. Oregonians can make a difference too: stay home and save lives. We all have a role to play in an unprecedented, unified effort across Oregon to stop the coronavirus from taking the tragic toll we’ve seen it claim elsewhere.”
State agencies, hospitals and health care providers have already begun to implement the plan.
- The state is collecting PPE for re-distribution to facilities in need.
- Regional hospitals have signed mutual aid agreements to shift equipment, workforce and patients from overburdened facilities to others with adequate capacity.
- The state is working with providers to stand-up alternate care locations (such as the Oregon Medical Station), identify and develop new alternate care sites, enable ambulatory care centers to house patients and re-purpose long-term care facilities.
- The state and hospitals are sharing hospital bed utilization data so hospitals can manage the use of beds and equipment across their region.
- The state is developing childcare options for health care workers, so their work isn’t interrupted by school closings and family responsibilities.
OHA Director Patrick Allen said, “Oregon’s health care system began preparing for a pandemic years ago, which gave us a head start on this plan. From expanding testing to securing more ventilators for Oregon hospitals, we are united by a set of common strategies to save lives in every corner of the state.”
The latest models state health officials released today forecast the following outcomes for 3 different scenarios:
- Return to business as usual: If Oregon lifted all the social distancing measures state leaders have instituted in recent weeks, there will be an estimated 15,000 cumulative infections by May 8th (within a range of 5,900-26,000). Approximately 1,100 people would need inpatient beds (850 AAC/250 ICU) across Oregon.
- Maintain bans on large gatherings and indefinite school closures: There would be an estimated 6,100 cumulative infections by May 8th (within a range of 2,000-12,000) and 340 people will need inpatient beds (260 AAC/80 ICU).
- Maintain aggressive interventions put into place on Monday, March 23rd (i.e.., Stay Home, Save Lives) with high public adherence: There will be an estimated 1,000 (within a possible range of 700-3,800) cumulative infections by May 8th. Under this scenario, hospitals would have to boost capacity by a smaller number of beds.
The models show that only aggressive interventions, like the Stay Home, Save Lives executive order Governor Brown issued on March 23rd, are predicted to decrease the number of active infections.
The models state health officials released today were prepared by the Institute for Disease Modeling. While similar to projections completed earlier by researchers at Oregon Health and Sciences University (OHSU), these newer models from IDM take into account the impact of community-level social distancing interventions, which were not incorporated into the OHSU study. Researchers from OHSU and other hospitals are collaborating with OHA to forecast the COVID-19 burden for their specific hospitals based on this information.
Dr. Dean Sidelinger, state health officer at OHA, said: “These projections tell us the sacrifices Oregonians are making right now can save lives. At the same time, they paint a dark picture of what could happen. We can’t afford to drop our guard.”
From the Bureau of Land Management, Medford
In accordance with guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the state of Oregon public health officials, the BLM Medford District will temporarily close many of its developed recreation facilities to help limit the spread of COVID-19. The health and safety of our visitors and staff remains the number one priority of the Bureau of Land Management.
These closures include:
- Upper and Lower Table Rocks
- Cathedral Hills
- Dollar Mountain
- Graves Creek Trail
Trash pickup and sanitation services on most of these recreation facilities will also be temporarily suspended.
Despite the closure of these facilities, multiple opportunities remain for the public to enjoy the outdoors as long as visitors heed orders, guidance, and advice of local and state officials and the Centers for Disease Control. Many BLM-managed trails and open spaces remain open across Oregon.
If you have questions regarding a specific location in this District, please call (541)-618-2200.
Additional information for BLM Oregon-Washington information will be posted on https://www.blm.gov/oregon-washington/covid-access-restrictions.
The BLM encourages responsible, local recreation to avoid putting strain on other communities. To ensure public lands and waters remain intact for future generations, visitors are encouraged to utilize Leave No Trace practices, such as picking up all trash and human waste, while services at recreational facilities are suspended. Please bring your own sanitary products, including toilet paper and hand sanitizer, and pack out all trash.
Please contact your local BLM office by email or phone for business purposes. Some offices have the option to make an appointment to visit during normal business hours for assistance. Contact information is available on our website at www.blm.gov/oregon-washington.
From the Oregon Lottery
FREE TICKET LEADS TO $6.3 MILLION MEGABUCKS WIN!
Robert (Bob) McCauley of Mt. Vernon is the Oregon Lottery’s newest Megabucks jackpot winner. McCauley matched all six of his numbers – on a free Megabucks ticket he’d won from a previous drawing – and won the $6.3 million jackpot for the Monday, Mar. 23 Megabucks drawing.
“I decided to go to the Post Office,” said McCauley. “It’s only a couple of blocks away.” Luckily for him, as he passed the Blue Mountain Mini Mart on his way to the Post Office, he thought he’d check his Megabucks ticket from the last drawing and get a new ticket for the next drawing.
Practicing good social distancing, McCauley went to the Mini Mart’s drive-up window to make his Lottery purchase. Working at the store was Mini Mart Manager Jolene Moulton. “I checked Bob’s ticket and actually gave him the voucher slip that came with his free ticket,” said Jolene. “As he was walking away, I saw the free play ticket sitting on the counter and realized Bob had the wrong ticket. I called him back to the window gave him the free ticket.”
The next day, McCauley had a knock on his door at home. “It was Bill, from the city,” said McCauley. “I answered the door and Bill says, ‘Bob. You need to check your ticket because Jolene thinks you may have won the lottery.’” Knowing the winning jackpot ticket had been sold in Mt. Vernon, population 512, and knowing she’d sold only three Megabucks tickets at the Mini Mart for Monday’s Megabucks drawing, Jolene dispatched Bill to McCauley’s house.
McCauley asked his daughter, Pam, to check the winning numbers online. They soon learned that Jolene’s hunch was true “Pam was screaming and jumping up and down,” said McCauley. “I was cool as a cucumber.”
After calling the Lottery to make an appointment, Bob arrived in Salem Thursday, Mar. 26 with a small group of family and friends to claim his prize. Asked what he was going to buy first, he said his wife wanted a new refrigerator. And after the fridge, Bob will get a new truck.
McCauley chose to take the bulk-sum option, which splits the prize in half, and after taxes, he took home $2.14 million.
At this time, to protect the health and safety of our employees and the public, we have temporarily closed the Salem and Wilsonville Lottery offices and continue to monitor the COVID-19 situation closely. We know our players are interested in knowing how their lottery play might be affected.
For now, prizes up to $50,000 should be claimed by mail. For prizes greater than $50,000, players need to make an appointment, just as McCauley did, to come to the Oregon Lottery office in Salem. Call 503-540-1000 for assistance.
The Oregon Lottery reminds players to always sign the back of their Lottery tickets, regardless of the game. In the event of winning a jackpot, they should consult with a trusted financial planner or similar professional to develop a plan for their winnings.
Since the Oregon Lottery began selling tickets on April 25, 1985, it has earned more than $12 billion for economic development, public education, Outdoor School, state parks, Veterans services and watershed enhancements. For more information on the Oregon Lottery visit www.oregonlottery.org
Blue Zones Project – Tips for Working From Home
In the spirit of supporting our organizations across the state as many offices navigate a transition to remote work and virtual meetings, Blue Zones Project – Healthy Klamath wants to provide you a few helpful tips for working from home:
- Set up a designated work area and working schedule.
It can be hard to ‘turn off’ from a day at work when your living and working space are the same. Be sure to designate a space for work equipment and time on the clock to ensure you still maintain a work-life balance. Be sure to turn off work notifications when you’re done working for the day.
- Wake up and get ready for the day as usual.
Be sure to wake up with enough time to continue your morning routine and get in the right headspace for work. Sleeping in and not giving yourself enough transition time can make your morning feel rushed and stressful. Don’t forget to include a healthy breakfast!
- Continue to take regular breaks.
Taking time for a short walk, standing up for a few minutes and having a scheduled lunch break are important to your routine and can ensure that you’re downshifting just enough to refocus and complete your work in a timely manner. Microbreaks, such as resting the eyes for 60 seconds, are made easy by this free Chrome extension, Break Timer.
- Communicate to people in your household when you are working and request quiet time.
It can be easy to be distracted by family members at home, chores that need to be done and other everyday things. Be sure to communicate with your family when you need quiet time for working and conference calls to decrease stress.
Regular stretching during the day can help reduce stress and increase productivity. Download our desk stretches flyer for easy tips to incorporate stretching into your day!
MAKE WORKING FROM HOME WORK FOR YOU
Is working from home new for you? Many offices are navigating a transition to remote colleagues and virtual meetings. Here at Blue Zones Project – Healthy Klamath, we are also working remotely so we’ve included some best practices in colleague onboarding. Find more on our website to guide you through these coming days and weeks.
…For complete details on these and other stories see today’s Herald & News. Wynne Broadcasting and the Herald and News…stronger together to keep you informed.
More Klamath Local News Here.