Klamath Basin News, Tuesday, 7/14 – Brown Issues Restriction of Indoor Social Gatherings to 10 People; Oregon Reporting 280 New Covid-19 Cases

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Tuesday, July 14, 2020

Klamath Basin Weather

Today   Sunny, with a high near 88.

Wednesday   Sunny, with a high near 93.

Thursday   Sunny, with a high near 93.

Friday   Sunny, with a high near 91.

Today’s Headlines

COVID-19 has claimed three more lives in Oregon, raising the state’s death toll to 237, the Oregon Health Authority reported.

Oregon Health Authority reported 280 new confirmed and presumptive cases of COVID-19, bringing the state total to 12,438.

Three new cases were reported in Jackson County, one here in Klamath County.

An outbreak of 102 cases has been reported at Snake River Correctional Institution in Malheur County. The case count includes all Oregon residents linked to the outbreak, which may include household members and other close contacts to an employee. The case count does not include any Idaho residents who may be associated with the outbreak, as laboratories report positive tests results to the state in which an individual resides. OHA is working closely with Idaho to coordinate contact tracing across state lines.

Governor Kate Brown held a press conference on Monday alongside Oregon Health Authority officials to discuss the “state of COVID-19 in Oregon,” outlining two new statewide mandates as cases continue to spike in the state.

Brown announced that she will be issuing a statewide ban on indoor social get-togethers of more than 10 people, putting more force behind the OHA request of the same, last week. The mandate does not apply to businesses or churches “at this time,” Brown said.

Despite the rule on private gatherings, Brown said that she will not “set up the party police” — meaning that there will not be any solid mechanisms of enforcement for this rule.

The statewide mandate on face coverings for indoor public spaces will also be expanded to include outdoor spaces when social distancing of six feet can’t be maintained, beginning tomorrow on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, across the border, California Gov. Gavin Newsom on Monday announced he is ordering the closure of bars, wineries and indoor restaurant dining statewide as cases of the coronavirus continue to spike in California.

The governor made the announcement during his regular media briefing Monday afternoon.  Newsom’s new order covers indoor operations for bars, restaurants, breweries, wineries, movie theaters, zoos, museums and card rooms.

The 173rd Fighter Wing will conduct night flying operations this week through Thursday, July 16th.

Operations will take place between approximately 4 and 11 p.m., according to Senior Master Sgt. Jennifer Shirar.Night flying is one part of the course curriculum for F-15C student pilots at Kingsley Field in Klamath Falls for the United States Air Force.The majority of the training will occur in military airspace to the east of Lakeview where the pilots can fly without lights. However, the local community will most likely hear jets during takeoffs and approaches at Kingsley Field. Takeoffs will occur after sundown and the jets will return approximately 90 minutes later.

On Sunday, July 12, 2020 evening Oregon State Police Troopers and emergency personnel responded to a single vehicle crash on Interstate 5 near milepost 144. Preliminary investigation revealed that a 1998 Dodge pickup, operated by Ruth Youngblood (71) of Sutherlin, was southbound on I-5 when it left the roadway and struck a tree.       

Youngblood sustained fatal injuries and was pronounced deceased. 

One male juvenile passenger sustained fatal injuries and was pronounced deceased.  A second male juvenile passenger was flown by air ambulance to Springfield with serious injuries.  OSP was assisted by North Douglas County Fire, Douglas County Sheriff’s Office, and ODOT.

The Rocky Point Boat Launch on the Klamath Ranger District of the Fremont-Winema National Forest will be closed starting today, Tuesday, July 14th through Thursday, July 16 at 5 p.m.

The Rocky Point Resort boat launch located nearby will be open during this time.

The temporary closure of the Forest Service boat launch is due to the assembly and deployment of solar aeration systems into Pelican Bay off Klamath Lake.

The pilot project is a collaboration between the Oregon Renewable Energy Center, Oregon Institute of Technology and the Klamath Tribes.

The floating solar aeration systems are expected to help boost dissolved oxygen levels and help juvenile Lost River and Shortnose Sucker survive through the August and September hypoxic (lack of dissolved oxygen) conditions caused by the die-off of cyanobacteria in Klamath Lake.

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.

Gatherings to view the comet Neowise will be offered Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday evenings, July 13-15, in the parking lot west of Marina II at Moore Park, along Lakeshore Drive. Signs will be posted at the site. The gatherings are sponsored by the Klamath County Museum, in partnership with Klamath Falls City Parks.Amateur astronomers will have telescopes available for viewing, but the comet should be easily visible in a pair of binoculars, or perhaps even to the naked eye. Those wishing to attend should gather at sunset, or around 9 p.m. The comet will be very low in the northwestern sky on Monday evening, and will sink below the horizon shortly after nightfall. The comet will be slightly higher in the sky as the week progresses, but is expected to grow dimmer day by day.


On Monday, July 13th, Oregon State Police Troopers and emergency personnel responded to a single vehicle crash on Interstate 5 near milepost 39, in the afternoon.

Preliminary investigation revealed a 2002 Ford F250, operated by Harry Sprangel (79) of Medford, pulling a Arctic Fox travel trailer was northbound when it left the roadway and overturned. The vehicle caught fire with the two occupants still inside.  An OSP Trooper and witnesses extinguished the fire and extricated Harry Sprangel from the vehicle. He was transported to the hospital for injuries.The passenger, Jilleen Sprangel (82) of Medford, sustained fatal injuries and was pronounced deceased. 

lawsuit filed last week on behalf of 13 jobless Oregonians seeks a series of reforms at the Oregon Employment Department to address months of unpaid benefits and assist claimants who don’t speak English.

Separately, the union representing the department’s claims processors said Monday the state will now allow at least 20 workers to do their jobs from home – a step the employment department had resisted for months. The pilot program follows a coronavirus outbreak last week that infected five workers at the department’s Gresham office, prompting its closure.

And state lawmakers are scheduled to vote Tuesday on a proposal to set aside $35 million in federal relief funds to make $500 payments to Oregonians who have not received unemployment benefits during pandemic. Some have been waiting for months.

The developments are the latest efforts to address a succession of failures at the employment department that have left tens of thousands of out-of-work Oregonians waiting for months for their benefits.

Today the Oregon Health Leadership Council and Oregon Health Authority released Better Health for Oregonians: Opportunities to Reduce Low-Value Care, a new report that seeks to lower the cost of health care by partnering with the medical community to identify low-value services.

The report defines low value care as medical treatments, tests and procedures that have been shown by the medical community, through evidence and research, to provide little benefit in specific clinical scenarios. Examples include opioids prescribed for lower back pain in the first four weeks, or imaging for uncomplicated headaches. It uses the Milliman MedInsight Health Waste Calculator, a software tool designed to analyze insurance claims data to identify and quantify low value health care services.

The report examined 47 measures over a three-year period (2016, 2017, 2018) for all lines of business (commercial, Medicaid and Medicare). Each measure evaluates a common treatment, test or procedure that is regularly used within the medical community. Findings showed widespread delivery of low value services across all measured populations.

Oregonians now have the choice to get a Real ID the next time they renew their driver license or ID card.

On July 6, the Oregon DMV began issuing Real ID-compliant licenses and ID cards to Oregonians who meet the federal requirements and bring the required documentation to their DMV appointment. Although a standard license or ID card is still available, some are choosing to get a Real ID-compliant card so that they are prepared for changes to TSA travel requirements next year.

In October 2021, the Transportation Security Administration will begin requiring identification that complies with federal Real ID standards to pass through airport security when boarding a domestic flight. The new ID requirements also apply to identification you use when entering a secure federal site, such as a military base.

Today more than 250 members from both Army and Air components of the Oregon National Guard arrived at the Oregon Public Safety Academy in Salem for a week long training class that will prepare them for wildfire response.

Before training classes could begin, each member of the Guard was issued wildland firefighting personal protective equipment from head to toe.The training this group will receive is the same wildland firefighter “red card” training class all public and private organizations are required to complete.  Upon successful completion of the training, each citizen-soldier and citizen-airmen will be issued a “red card” which means they are ready for deployment.

This week’s training will included classes on hose lays and pumps, firing devices, griding, safety, fire shelter deployment, hand tools, hand lines, weather and mop-up.  The training will include a live-fire training exercise near the end of the week so that the men and women taking the course can apply what they have learned in a hands-on scenario.This training is being proactively offered to have more than 500 members of the Oregon National Guard ready to quickly respond in case their assistance is needed this summer by the Oregon Department of Forestry.  

State leaders requested funds through the Department of the Defense which was approved to cover the costs for the training and equipment.  The funds were allocated by Congress to have members of the Guard trained ahead of wildfire season which will speed-up the deployment process in case their assistance is needed. DPSST’s Director Eriks Gabliks said “the partnership with the Oregon National Guard, Oregon Department of Forestry, and DPSST is very strong which enables the training to be offered as we begin fire season in Oregon.  Previous years have shown the value of this partnership as members of the Guard have been deployed to support wildfire suppression efforts around Oregon when all public and private resources were depleted.”After completing the week-long training, these citizen-soldiers and citizen-airmen will return to their communities, careers and families and standby ready to assist with wildland firefighting efforts around the state if needed.

Last week the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) and Oregon Criminal Justice Commission (CJC) announced awards totaling $9.7 million to six counties and five tribal governments.

The funding will help people with mental illnesses and substance use disorders get the treatment they need, and avoid frequent and costly visits to Oregon emergency departments and involvement with the criminal justice system.Oregon has one of the highest rates of people with behavioral health needs in the United States. In July 2019 Governor Kate Brown signed legislation creating a grant program to support counties and tribal nations in developing stronger community based continuums of care. The Improving People’s Access to Community-based Treatment, Supports, and Services (IMPACTS) grant program is expected to help reduce millions in local and state expenditures resulting from jail admissions and an overwhelming number of court orders for people to competency restoration at Oregon State Hospital.


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

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