Klamath Basin News, Friday, 4/3 – 12 Covid-19 Cases Now in Klamath County, 899 in Oregon

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.

Friday, April 3, 2020

Klamath Basin Weather

Mostly sunny, with a high near 49.  Overnight rain mixed with snow. Low of 31. New snow accumulation of less than a half inch possible.

A chance of rain and snow. Partly sunny, with a high near 51.

Snow before 2pm, then rain and snow. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 47.

Today’s Headlines

The Klamath County Public Health Air Advisory is Green until noon today.

Klamath County Health officials are now investigating seven new positive cases of the coronavirus, now bringing the county total to possibly 12.

One of those individuals has since recovered from the illness. The agency said while it is now known that Klamath County is experiencing community spread, Klamath County Public Health remains committed to identifying additional exposures when needed to best protect our community.

According to the agency, two flights have been identified as possible areas of exposure to COVID-19: Alaska Airlines Flight 583 from Santa Ana to Portland and Alaska Airlines Flight 2059 from Portland to Medford on March 21. This was determined through contact tracing and investigation. Anyone associated with these flights who develops symptoms should contact their local public health agency.

The agency says that it is working with Jackson County Public Health to make sure everyone in the region is notified about the possible exposure on these flights. Klamath County Health is beginning to release information on their new cases.

So far, three Klamath cases have been in the 20-29 age group, one case 30-39, three cases 40-49, two cases 50-59, and three cases 60-69. Only two of the cases have been hospitalized, each in the 40 or older range. Three cases have been in men, the rest are all women.

There are still no deaths reported in Klamath County from COVID-19.

Oregon Institute of Technology learned yesterday that an employee at its Klamath Falls campus has tested positive for Coronavirus. The employee has not been on campus since March 9th has been quarantined at home and is doing well.  

Oregon Tech will be working with Klamath County Public Health officials to assist the county in its standard case investigation processes. Klamath County is leading the follow-up process. This is the second case reported at Oregon Tech; the University was notified Wednesday of the first case at the University’s Portland-Metro campus in Wilsonville.

Due to the social distancing and safety precautions Oregon Tech has taken including remote work environments for employees the Portland-Metro employee had not been on that campus since March 13th.

Oregon Tech president, Dr. Nagi Naganathan.said as testing for Coronavirus becomes more commonplace and accessible he expects that we will see an increase in positive cases throughout all of Oregon.  He went on to say our thoughts are with this employee, and we wish speedy healing for anyone who has contracted the virus. We will continue to advise social distancing and stay at home precautions to our campus community.

Oregon Tech’s Integrated Student Health Center continues to offer both medical and behavioral health support services to students and will be collaborating closely with Klamath County Public Health on the investigation.

The University remains committed to the well-being and safety of the Oregon Tech community and will continue to communicate as new or updated information is available.

COVID-19 has claimed another life in Oregon, raising the state’s death toll to 22 as of Friday afternoon, the Oregon Health Authority reported.  They also reported 73 new known cases of COVID-19 overnight, bringing the statewide total to 899.

The new COVID-19 cases reported today are in the following counties: Benton (2), Clackamas (5), Deschutes (5), Hood River (1), Jackson (5), Josephine (2), Klamath (3), Lane (3), Lincoln (1), Marion (13), Union (2), Multnomah (26), Washington (22), and Yamhill (1).  

With the recent measures regarding social distancing being released by the state leadership to help quell the spread of Covid-19, Klamath Lake Community Action Services has identified a group in our community who is not able to follow these measures.

The current situation of these individuals is that they are unsheltered and unable to self-quarantine. KLCAS is concerned that by not having 100 percent community involvement in containment measures, our entire community is placed at risk. Staying at home is not possible for all the members of our community and KLCAS would like to ask for help in supporting this vulnerable, at-risk population.

KLCAS is requesting the help of local hotels, motels and RV parks to aid us in sheltering patients who test positive for Covid-19 and are not ill enough to require hospitalization.

These individuals have no place to properly quarantine for the recommended 30 days. KLCAS will work with identified community partners to ensure individuals receiving this assistance are supported throughout their recuperation.

The American Red Cross is urging citizens who are not presently working to donate blood as coronavirus lockdowns have resulted in a drastic reduction in blood donations.

Additional safety measures are being implemented to assure the health of donors.

Appointments are required in order to maintain proper social distancing requirements. Rebecca O’Rourke, account manager for American Red Cross PNW says they have lost thousands of blood donations due to COVID-19 across the states and need healthy individuals to give blood as soon as possible, and we are setting up in stationary locations to help us with additional sanitization practices, and taking extra steps to ensure we see only healthy donors.

Blood donations will be collected from April 14-17, 9 a.m. – 2 p.m. at Hope Lutheran Community Center.

Additional drives will be held at Sky Lakes Medical Center on Tuesday, April 28, 12-5:30 p.m., Wednesday, April 29 from 9 a.m. – 2 p.m., and Thursday, April 30 from 8 a.m. – 1 p.m. To schedule a donation visit www.redcrossblood.org or call 1-800-RED-CROSS

Fremont-Winema National Forest offers free personal use firewood cutting

Personal use firewood cutting on the Fremont-Winema National Forest will be free to the public through June 1, 2020.

Woodcutters can collect up to 12 cords of firewood for personal use.  A cord equates to a wood stack that is 4 feet wide by 4 feet high by 8 feet long.

While there is no need for permits or tags during this period, woodcutters are expected to follow the 2020 Personal Use Firewood Synopsis of Rules and Regulations. 

The document, along with woodcutting maps are available online at www.fs.usda.gov/main/fremont-winema/passes-permits/forestproducts and then selecting “Firewood Permits”.  Maps are also available digitally from Avenza Maps at www.avenzamaps.com.

Regulations include:

  • Cut only in permitted areas.  No woodcutting is allowed within 150 feet of developed recreation sites or in Wilderness Areas, Wild and Scenic River Corridors, Unique Areas, Research Natural Areas, Research Areas, Experimental Forest Areas or within posted areas including unlogged or active timber sales, contract areas and posted “No Cutting” areas.
  • All trees standing or down with paint, tags or signs on them are protected and may not be cut.
  • Use of mechanized skidding and/or loading equipment for removal of firewood is prohibited.  The only power equipment authorized for use are chainsaws, winches and hydraulic splitters. 
  • Spark arresters should be on all mechanical equipment and fire prevention measures, including following Industrial Fire Precaution Level (IFPL), should be followed.
  • Maximum length of firewood allowed to be cut and transported is 6 feet.
  • Cut and scatter limbs and tops.  Remove all slash from roads and ditches.
  • See the synopsis document for specific regulations regarding the Ranger District.  This includes restrictions on cutting near streams, seeps, springs and meadows, as well as tree species allowed.

Firewood obtained is intended for personal use only and not for resale.  Commercial permits are still available by contacting local Fremont-Winema National Forest offices by phone.

“We’re happy to be able to provide free firewood cutting as a service to the public during this difficult time,” said Fremont-Winema National Forest Supervisor Barry Imler.  “Many of our area residents depend on wood for heat and we hope this opportunity helps them as well as our forest health.”

Woodcutters are encouraged to pay attention to weather and road conditions to avoid resource damage.  Some woodcutting areas may be inaccessible due to snow or wet conditions. A good guide for drivers is if they can see their tracks on the road in the rearview mirror, conditions are too wet and they should pull over or turn around to avoid resource damage.  Minimizing damage to roads helps ensure continued public access and reduces the impacts to natural resources.

Additionally, woodcutters should practice good forest safety, including:

  • Plan your trip – check the weather, bring plenty of warm clothes, enough water for everyone for 3 days, emergency food, tire chains, shovel, flashlight, flares and/or something to start a fire with, camp saw or hatchet, and cold weather sleeping bag or blankets.
  • Make sure you have a full tank of gas when you leave and are prepared for changing conditions in the mountains and high desert!  Also, let someone know where you are going and when you plan to be back.
  • Keep vehicles on designated roads and be aware of changing weather and road conditions.  Wet dirt roads can quickly turn to mud, making it possible to get stuck and causing damage to road, soil and water resources.
  • In snowy conditions, if the snow on the road is 3 inches or greater, turn around – conditions are not likely to improve ahead.
  • Do not count on technology – GPS can steer drivers onto impassable roads and there is not cellphone service across most of the Forest.

For more information on the free personal use firewood cutting, please contact your local Fremont-Winema National Forest Office during regular business hours between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. 

They can be reached at: Supervisor’s Office – 541-947-2151; Bly Ranger District – 541-353-2427; Chemult Ranger District – 541-365-7001; Chiloquin Ranger District – 541-783-4001; Klamath Ranger District – 541-883-6714; Lakeview Ranger District – 541-947-3334; Paisley Ranger District – 541-943-3114; Silver Lake Ranger District – 541-576-2107.

Please bear in mind that all Forest offices are currently closed to the public, but virtual services are provided, including map and permit sales.

For more information on the Fremont-Winema National Forest, visit www.fs.usda.gov/fremont-winema, follow the Forest on Twitter @FremontWinemaNF or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/R6FWNF.

Around the State of Oregon

Jackson County Health in Medford and the CDC says:  “Wear a mask”.   Medical researchers are learning new things about covid-19 or coronavirus every day. 

CDC’s original recommendations advised against wearing masks unless you are already infected, that appears to be changing.    Now, the Centers for Disease Control is considering recommending people wear masks to prevent the spread of the virus.

In Medford, Jackson County’s health officer Dr. Jim Shames says that it would be a good idea for families to get one or two cloth facemasks, per person, for use when going out in public. They can be washed after use, allowing them to be used repeatedly.

“Jackson County Public Health is NOT recommending that you purchase manufactured surgical masks, please save them for the healthcare workers that rely on them for protection,” the agency said.

Dr. Jim Shames said, “when we both wear a face mask, I protect you and you protect me.’”

Regardless, the health agency says that social distancing, frequent hand washing, and avoiding others if you are sick remain the best ways to stop the spread of COVID-19 — no one should assume that wearing a mask is a proper substitute.

Over the past week, Jackson County Public Health has said that the area is now in the phase of “rapid community spread” of coronavirus. In a statement on Tuesday, officials said that these cases did not indicate any hot spots in the county — rather they are equally distributed throughout, demonstrating “spread that is widespread.”

He says there are a number of good reasons to wear a mask:

  • Some people are contagious before they ever get symptoms or feel sick.
  • Droplets transmit the disease, whether through coughing, sneezing, or talking to the person next to you.
  • You are less likely to touch your nose and mouth.

Blue Zones Project, Klamath Falls – “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:

  1. 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.

  1. 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!

  1. 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.

  1. 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!


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.


Klamath Falls News from partnership with the Herald and News, empowering the community.

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