Klamath Basin News, Monday, 11/23 – Klamath County Health Reports 53 New Covid-19 Cases As the Thanksgiving Holiday Approaches; Oregon Reporting Another 1,517 Covid Cases Overnight

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The latest and most comprehensive coverage of local News, Sports, Business, and Community News stories in the Klamath Basin, Southern Oregon and around the state of Oregon from Wynne Broadcasting’s KFLS News/Talk 1450AM / 102.5FM, The Herald & News, and BasinLife.com, and powered by Mick Insurance.

Monday, November 23, 2020

Klamath Basin Weather

Monday A chance of snow showers before 10am, then a chance of rain and snow showers. Partly sunny, with a high near 42. Chance of precipitation is 30%. New snow accumulation of less than a half inch possible. Overnight, partly cloudy, with a low around 26.

Tuesday Mostly sunny, with a high near 48. Overnight, rain before 10pm, then a chance of rain and snow between 10pm and 1am, then a chance of snow after 1am. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 29. Chance of precipitation is 50%. New snow accumulation of less than a half inch possible.

Wednesday A 30% chance of snow showers, mainly before 4pm. Partly sunny, with a high near 41. New snow accumulation of less than a half inch possible.

Thursday, Thanksgiving Day Mostly sunny, with a high near 43. Overnight with a low around 22.

Friday Sunny, with a high near 42.

Saturday Mostly sunny, with a high near 45.

For the third straight day, the Oregon Health Authority reported a record-breaking high — 1,517 — of new confirmed and presumptive cases of COVID-19 in Oregon, bringing the state total to 65,170.

COVID-19 has claimed one more life in Oregon on Sunday, raising the state’s death toll to 820, OHA reported yesterday.

The new confirmed and presumptive COVID-19 cases reported today are in the following counties: Benton (7), Clackamas (207), Clatsop (7), Columbia (8), Coos (9), Crook (6), Deschutes (38), Douglas (12), Grant (15), Hood River (6), Jackson (55), Jefferson (8), Josephine (14), Klamath (53), Lake (6), Lane (64), Lincoln (1), Linn (27), Malheur (16), Marion (183), Morrow (7), Multnomah (516), Polk (26), Umatilla (47), Union (5), Wasco (11), Washington (128), and Yamhill (35).

Among the seven new deaths reported Saturday, all were in their 70s or 80s, and either had or were suspected of having underlying health conditions. The state has had a surge in daily cases and hospitalizations since the start of November and health officials have warned that Oregonians are “dying at a faster rate” as cases surge.

Klamath County Health reporting another 53 cases overnight.

Jackson County Public Health reports 55 new COVID-19 cases.

A previously reported case has been removed from the total case numbers. These updates bring the total reported COVID-19 cases in Jackson County to 3,357. 

According to Public Health officials, there are 634 active cases within Jackson county.

A large crowd gathered Saturday in downtown Klamath Falls, in defiance of public health orders, to protest state restrictions meant to slow the spread of COVID-19.

The crowd gathered around noon on both sides of Main Street, outside the Klamath County Courthouse, waving signs and flags. Some were decked out in tactical gear with radios and police scanners affixed to their vests. Very few wore masks.

The outdoor gathering of roughly 100 people included Klamath County Commissioner Donnie Boyd, State Rep. E. Werner Reschke and State Sen. Dennis Linthicum. Each spoke at a podium placed on the courthouse steps.

The gathering took place one day after Klamath County recorded 75 COVID cases, a single day high in the county, and as local healthcare workers implored county leaders to take the COVID threat seriously. County and city schools announced that rising case counts meant they would be forced to go back to online-only instruction.

Due to rising COVID-19 case rates, all Klamath County students, including K-3 and students in rural schools, will return to online-only classes starting Nov. 30.

Klamath County Public Health, after completing a significant portion of new case investigations late Friday, announced that new COVID-19 case rates in the county exceeded 200 per 100,000, requiring students to return to comprehensive distance learning after the Thanksgiving break.

Superintendent Glen Szymoniak said the district worked hard to bring students back into classrooms. He said it would take a community support to bring case numbers down. Klamath County Public Health Assistant Director Jessica Dale made the announcement in an email to district superintendents.

After the Klamath County Board of Commissioners released statements this past week in opposition to the governor’s latest statewide mandates to stop the spread of COVID-19, some in the community were outraged.

A group of more than 50 health care providers and the Klamath Tribal Council both responded in opposition to the commissioners as well as the county sheriff.  Each had rejected the statewide approach to controlling virus spread.  In a guest commentary, area doctors, nurses and other health care professionals call the county statements “dangerous and unacceptable.”  

Sky Lakes spokesperson Tom Hottman said Commissioner Kelley Minty Morris was right in her assessment of a “robust” healthcare system in Klamath, but that system has its limits. Hottman called hospital capacity “a finite resource,” noting not only the limited number of beds for patients, COVID-positive or not, but also the staff to care for them.

Differences in the state’s reporting system for testing may mean the county’s test positivity rate may be inaccurate. So far, 4.2% of all COVID-19 tests administered in Klamath County have returned positive.

Klamath County Public Health spokesperson Valeree Lane said the recent spike has brought a discrepancy in reported testing numbers via the state. According to the Oregon Health Authority, the county’s weekly test positivity rate was 13.1% last week, with 472 people testing negative and 71 people testing positive for the virus.

But Lane said as of Wednesday morning, more than 200 negative tests from the past several weeks had not been entered into the state’s system. Recent reporting has shown that the state’s system for counting tests and determining test positivity assigns a maximum of one negative and one positive test per person. That’s done to prevent individuals who receive multiple tests from skewing the data, but it has also led to undercounts of new individuals tested in multiple counties and the state as a whole.

Around the state of Oregon

The year 2020 isn’t over yet, but it’s already been a roller coaster for Crater Lake National Park.

Based on figures through October, the park set five records for monthly visitation in 2020 — three for historic lows and two for historic highs. Superintendent Craig Ackerman said it was a challenge “trying to manage the day-to-day life of the park when we don’t know what to expect.”

According to park records dating back to 1982, the park saw historic low visitation in April, May and September and historic highs in July and August. The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has played havoc with park programs since March. And with new mandatory restrictions imposed by Oregon Governor Kate Brown and increasing caseloads, operating plans for the winter and for 2021 remain in a state of flux.

A Bend man who was reported missing after police found his SUV crashed near Lost Creek Lake was found dead, Oregon State Police confirmed on Friday.

Troopers discovered a crashed and “badly damaged” SUV along Highway 62 near Lost Creek Lake on October 27, but first responders found that there was no-one inside the vehicle. OSP came to believe that the driver was 33-year-old Matthew Lang of Bend. He had not been in contact with friends or family since the crash. Teams from Jackson County Search & Rescue have been scouring the area for signs of Lang, but he was still considered missing for a matter of weeks after the crash.

A statement from OSP said that a Jackson County Sheriff’s deputy found Lang’s body in the river on Tuesday, a few hundred yards from the crash site. The OSP Medical Examiner’s Office later confirmed that it was Lang’s body.

This commercial vehicle crashed after hitting other vehicles while traveling in the wrong direction on I-5 near Cottage Grove. The driver was Tylor Stafford, arrested on several charges.

On Sunday, November 22, 2020 at approximately 1:37 A.M., Oregon State Police Troopers received reports of a commercial motor vehicle (CMV) driving northbound in the southbound lanes on Interstate 5 near milepost 163. 

An officer from the Cottage Grove Police Department located and attempted to stop the CMV.  The CMV drove onto the shoulder and continued northbound in an attempt to elude the officer. 

Near milepost 173 the CMV (2020 International), operated by Tylor Stafford (53) of Shelbyville, Texas, crashed into a southbound CMV (2019 Volvo) operated by Daryl Rickman (53) of Portland, Oregon. 

Stafford’s CMV (2020 International) then crashed into the concrete barrier and burst into flames. 

Stafford attempted to run on foot however he was captured by an officer from the Cottage Grove Police Department.  Stafford was arrested for multiple charges including DUII, Reckless Driving, and Reckless Endangering. 

Stafford nor Rickman were injured. 

The northbound lanes were closed for approximately 30 minutes and the southbound lanes for approximately 3 hours.  OSP was assisted by Cottage Grove Police Department, Lane County Sheriff’s Office, South Lane Fire and Rescue, and ODOT.  

SNAP FOOD PROGRAM EXTENDED THROUGH DECEMBER 31, 2020

Oregon received approval by the U.S. Department of Agriculture Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) to allow Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and Disaster SNAP recipients in the following 23 counties to purchase hot or prepared foods from authorized SNAP retailers until Dec. 31, 2020.

Approved counties: Benton, Clackamas, Columbia, Coos, Curry, Deschutes, Douglas, Hood River, Jackson, Josephine, Jefferson, Klamath, Lake, Lane, Lincoln, Linn, Marion, Multnomah, Polk, Tillamook, Wasco, Washington, and Yamhill.

Normally, SNAP benefits cannot be used to purchase “hot food products prepared for immediate consumption.” This restriction is being waived following the severe winds and wildfires that led to the displacement of many residents and left them without access to a kitchen to prepare meals. Examples of allowable Prepared Foods include hot deli foods, fountain drinks, including but not limited to coffee and tea, a slice of hot/prepared pizza, hot soup, salad bars, and sandwiches.

This waiver will last through Dec. 31, 2020, and allows SNAP and DSNAP recipients to use their benefits to buy prepared food at any participating retailer that accepts SNAP EBT cards. Restaurant purchases are still prohibited.

For more information about the hot food waiver, visit https://www.oregon.gov/dhs/ASSISTANCE/FOOD-BENEFITS/Pages/DSNAP-Hot-Foods-Waiver.aspx.

A Bend man was experiencing depression as a result of his failing marriage so he went to his family physician, who counseled him on ways to improve his marriage and prescribed him marijuana and CBD.

The patient now claims in a lawsuit that all along, the doctor, Ronald Rosen, was having an affair with his wife. In a complaint filed Monday in Deschutes County Circuit Court, local musician and financial adviser Peirson Tone seeks $2.9 million from Rosen for professional negligence.

Rosen counseled Tone and offered him solutions to enhance and heal his marriage, and prescribed him herbs and breathing techniques for his depression, in addition to marijuana and CBD. Rosen has been licensed to practice medicine in Oregon since 1991, according to the Oregon Medical Board. He has no prior cases of medical malpractice.

CelebrateAg this holiday season

By Anne Marie Moss, Oregon Farm Bureau communications director

Thanksgiving is all about making time to reflect on the many things in life for which we are grateful. In conversations around the dinner table, Oregon Farm Bureau urges readers to remember the farm and ranch families who grew the food you’ll be enjoying not only on Thanksgiving day, but all year long.

While Oregon isn’t a major producer of turkeys, we do specialize in beef cattle; cattle and calves rank as Oregon’s #3 top agricultural commodity by production value, drawing in over $625 million a year.

Your holiday dining will almost certainly feature other prominent Oregon ag products. Oregon is Number 1 in the nation for producing hazelnuts and Dungeness crab; Number 2 for pears and onions; Number 3 for cranberries; and Number 4 for green peas and potatoes. Milk is Oregon’s Number 4 top ag commodity, valuing at $552 million, and is used to create a host of delicious dairy products.

You’ll #CelebrateAg when you raise a toast during the holidays. Oregon-grown hops are to thank for many of the region’s craft beers, and our state ranks Number 3 in the United States for growing hops. The Oregon wine industry has surged over the past decade, now to 1,297 vineyards with 908 wineries. Wine grapes are the state’s Number 7 top ag commodity, valuing at $238 million.

Few things are more festive than purchasing a fresh Christmas tree. Did you know that Oregon is Number 1 in the nation for Christmas tree production? Because more people are staying at home this year due to the pandemic, there is expected to be increased interest in purchasing a live, fragrant tree that can be enjoyed all season long.  

Beyond seasonal favorites, there are many other reasons to #CelebrateAg.

For one, Oregon agriculture is sustainable. Through Oregon Farm Bureau’s Century Farm & Ranch Program, an impressive 1,235 farms and ranches have remained operational, on the same land, and within the same family for at least 100 years, and 47 families have reached the 150-year milestone.

Agriculture is also family-based. Nearly 97% of Oregon’s farms and ranches — including commercial-scale farms — are family-owned and operated. Some are “corporate farms” that incorporated for tax purposes or succession-plan reasons. In agriculture, “big” doesn’t mean “bad.”

Agriculture benefits the environment. The wide, open spaces created by farms and ranches not only preserve Oregon’s cherished landscapes, but also provide 70% of the state’s wildlife habitat. 551,000 acres of Oregon ag land are enrolled in the voluntary USDA Conservation Reserve Program, which helps improve water quality, prevent soil erosion, and reduce loss of wildlife habitat on private land. And, combined, U.S. agriculture, land use, and forestry are a net sink for carbon emissions, removing 172 million metric tons of C02-equivalent emissions from the atmosphere in 2017.

Whether for the simple pleasure of enjoying Oregon-grown food — or for agriculture’s countless other contributions to society — please join us and take a moment to #CelebrateAg this holiday season.

Oregon Farm Bureau President Barb Iverson comes from a multigenerational family farm from Woodburn, raising industrial hemp, grass seed, squash, vetch seed, hazelnuts, wine and table grapes, and operating the Wooden Shoe Tulip Festival, which attracts over 160,000 visitors each year. Iverson is OFB’s 17th president.

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