Klamath Basin News, Thursday, 12/24 – Christmas Eve in the Basin; Covid Cases Remain High

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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.

Thursday, December 24, 2020

Klamath Basin Weather

Today Mostly sunny, with a high near 43. Overnight, mostly cloudy, with a low around 27.

Friday, Christmas Day Snow likely after 10am, mixing with rain after 1pm. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 43. Overnight, rain and snow likely, becoming all snow after 4am. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 30.

Saturday Snow showers likely before 10am, then a chance of rain and snow showers. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 40. Chance of precipitation is 60%. New snow accumulation of less than one inch possible.

Sunday Partly sunny, with a high near 37.

Monday Mostly sunny, with a high near 36.

See Road Camera Views

Lake of the Woods   
Doak Mtn.   
Hiway 97 at Chemult   
Hiway 140 at  Bly       
Hiway 97 at GreenSprings Dr.            
Hiway 97 at LaPine

COVID-19 has claimed 21 more lives in Oregon, raising the state’s death toll to 1,403. The Oregon Health Authority reported 1,000 new confirmed and presumptive cases of COVID-19 as of this morning.

The new cases are in the following counties: Baker (5), Benton (16), Clackamas (64), Clatsop (18), Columbia (10), Coos (7), Crook (3), Deschutes (41), Douglas (10), Grant (1), Hood River (5), Jackson (48), Jefferson (8), Josephine (17), Klamath (30), Lane (73), Lincoln (5), Linn (48), Malheur (20), Marion (127), Morrow (1), Multnomah (209), Polk (28), Sherman (1), Tillamook (4), Umatilla (33), Union (2), Wasco (14), Washington (117), Wheeler (3) and Yamhill (32).

OHA is  providing daily updates on administered doses of COVID-19 vaccines in Oregon on its vaccination data dashboard

Yesterday, 2,449 doses of vaccine were administered, raising the state’s total number of first vaccine doses to 10,407. All vaccinations occurred at Oregon hospitals and long-term care facilities. The dashboard provides weekday updates on the number of people vaccinated, both by state and by county, along with key demographic information showing the race, ethnicity, sex and age of everyone who has been vaccinated.

The number of hospitalized patients with COVID-19 across Oregon is 527, which is three more than yesterday. There are 109 COVID-19 patients in intensive care unit (ICU) beds, which is 10 fewer than yesterday. The total number of patients in hospital beds may fluctuate between report times. The numbers do not reflect admissions per day, nor the length of hospital stay. Staffing limitations are not captured in this data and may further limit bed capacity.

As winter settles into communities throughout the Southern Oregon and Northern California region, ending a year that has brought challenges like no other, it’s the arts and humanities programs that continue to provide needed connection and healing.

Local organizations that deliver music, theater and visual arts have had to pivot during 2020 in ways never imagined. Many have moved to virtual programming to connect with families and students at home while also working behind-the-scenes to preserve cherished in-person programs so that they can return in the future.

To support these programs’ ongoing efforts, PacifiCorp Foundation, a nonprofit arm of Pacific Power, is donating more than $200,000 in new funding across the six states it serves to support the arts and humanities – along with continued needs by organizations on the frontlines of the COVID-19 response. A total of 44 Foundation grants were given to non-profit organizations across Pacific Power’s service area, ranging between $1,000 and $5,500. The grants reflect the diversity of the communities Pacific Power serves, and the diverse needs of these communities during this time.

For the Southern Oregon and Northern California area, grants were provided several  grants including one to the Ross Ragland Theater.

An event that’s been a Klamath Basin tradition for more than 45 years, the New Year’s morning Hangover Handicap, is another casualty from 2020.

Traditionally held as a way to get a running — or walking — start to the new year, the low-key event has started and ended at Veteran’s Park in downtown Klamath Falls. The free event sometimes draws more than 100 runners, walkers and dogs on a 2.3-mile loop route that includes Klamath Avenue and Main Street. But Glidden, a long-time Klamath Falls family doctor, suggested an alternative.

Glidden says “It has become an annual tradition for many folks noting people “are welcome to carry on the New Year’s Tradition by walking, jogging or running the course on their own at any convenient time that works out for them.

Mary Kenneally-Putnam didn’t let COVID-19 stop her from her dream: opening and owning her own consignment store.

Rare Bird opened in downtown Klamath Falls on Small Business Saturday on Nov. 28, when people were encouraged to come downtown and shop local. Putnam called that day “overwhelming,” but said people were very supportive. When she was looking for a job after returning to Klamath, she said she wasn’t going to let the pandemic keep her down. Putnam channeled her background in retail and sales into her own business. Putnam took over the 811 Main Street storefront previously occupied by a former consignment boutique, Periwinkle.

Although Putnam is not affiliated with the previous business, she said upon her return to the area, she saw the community need for a quality consignment store.

A unique partnership to try to save Lost River and shortnose suckers will go forward in 2021 despite disruptions caused by COVID and wildfires this year.

Oregon Tech teamed up with the Klamath Tribes to try to save endangered species, using solar energy. OIT’s Renewable Energy Engineering program placed two solar-powered “islands” on Upper Klamath Lake this summer that work to increase the amount of oxygen in parts of the lake to possibly help suckers. Juvenile suckers aren’t surviving into adulthood, studies show, and the project is one of multiple attempts at finding a way to solve the problem.

On December 16, 2020 Klamath County Sheriff’s Office employees presented a check for $1,145.00 to Marc Kane, Executive Director of the Klamath Basin Senior Citizens’ Center.

KCSO employees and volunteers throughout November and December purchased raffle tickets for items donated by individuals and local businesses with the proceeds of those raffles being donated to the Klamath Basin Senior Citizens Center Meals Program.

This year has been especially challenging for the Klamath Basin Senior Citizens’ Center. They are not able to serve meals in-person but deliver meals at a much higher rate than in years past. In addition, the Senior Citizens’ Center hasn’t been able to hold many of the activities that raise funds to support these programs due to COVID-19.

The employees and volunteers of Klamath County Sheriff’s Office wish to thank the individuals and businesses below for their generous donations of prizes for the raffle.










Around the state of Oregon

Governor Kate Brown wants educators to be in the next group of people who receive COVID-19 vaccines.

Brown says kids need to get back into school. She says besides education, schools also provide meals for students and oversight to make sure they’re safe. Health care workers and long-term care residents are in the first group that’s currently being vaccinated. Brown wants teachers to be in the next group.

Oregon is following a national trend that has seen increases in drug overdose deaths in 2020 – a rise that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is partially attributing to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Oregon’s 580 deaths from drug overdoses are among the more than 81,000 drug overdose deaths that occurred in the United States in the 12 months ending in May 2020.

According to a Dec. 17 report from the CDC, that was the highest number of overdose deaths ever recorded in a 12-month period. The federal agency surmised that the “disruption to daily life due to the COVID-19 pandemic  has hit those with substance use disorder hard.” From January to June 2020, at least 339 people died of a drug overdose in Oregon.

This figure is nearly 40% higher than the number of overdose deaths  from the same period in 2019 and represents an increase of nearly 35% from the previous six-month period, July to December 2019. As OHA has previously reported, there was a spike of drug overdose deaths during the second quarter of 2020. When compared to the second quarter of 2019, the number of overdose deaths increased by more than 63%. Overdose deaths increased in April, reached a peak in May and returned to near-monthly averages in June and July.

While most overdose deaths in Oregon in 2020 have involved opioids, illicit fentanyl, a synthetic opioid, and methamphetamines have been troubling contributors to the drug overdose rate, mirroring national trends.

Lindsey Graham, owner of Glamour Salon in Salem, has filed a lawsuit against Governor Kate Brown, this time in Marion County court, claiming that forcing small businesses to shut down due to the coronavirus pandemic is doing more harm than good. Court documents say Graham is seeking $100,000 in damages. According to the suit, filed on December 18, Graham claims that shutting down private businesses “caused greater negative health effects on Oregonians in the form of increased stress, anxiety and depression.” Graham also claims she lost business opportunity, revenue from her clients, and “damage to her reputation and goodwill” according to court documents.

SALEM, Ore. — The Oregon Board of Forestry will meet at 9 a.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 6. In compliance with Gov. Kate Brown’s directive on social distancing to slow the spread of COVID-19, this will be a virtual public meeting.

The meeting agenda includes:

  • Approval of the 2020-2022 Revised Board Work Plans
  • A presentation of the 2020 Forest Practices Operator of the Year Awards
  • An update from the Forest Trust Land Advisory Committee
  • Information on the Climate Change Carbon Plan

View the agenda for additional topics to be discussed at https://www.oregon.gov/odf/board/pages/bofmeetings.aspx.

The meeting will be livestreamed and written public comment will be accepted. The live testimony is reserved for the Board decision item two, and sign up instructions are outlined on the Board meeting website. Written testimony can be submitted before or after the meeting to BoardofForestry@oregon.gov. The board packet and livestream option are available at https://www.oregon.gov/odf/board/pages/bofmeetings.aspx.

Accommodations for people with disabilities, and special materials, services, or assistance can be arranged by calling ODF’s Public Affairs Office at least five days in advance of the meeting at 503-945-7200.

Salem, Ore. — The Oregon Department of Forestry has extended the public comment period for initial Santiam State Forest post-fire restoration plans until 5 p.m. January 4, 2021. With the required 30-day comment period set to end on December 23, this extension allows additional time for the public to review the draft plan, which addresses topics such as reforestation, salvage harvesting, public safety, and recreation.

About 24,700 acres of the Santiam State Forest were in the footprints of the 2020 Beachie Creek, Lionshead and Riverside fires, and over 16,000 acres were damaged. The restoration plan aims to re-establish a healthy, productive forest that provides the economic, environmental and social benefits required by law on state forests. An outline of the strategies and activities planned to accomplish that goal are outlined in the draft revised implementation plan for the ODF North Cascade District, which houses the Santiam State Forest. This revised plan would replace the current Implementation Plan for this district, and extends through June 30, 2023.

The plan and other information—including a recording of a Dec. 8, 2020 virtual public forum on the restoration plans—is available on ODF’s website. Comments can be submitted online by using this form, by emailing ODF.SFComments@oregon.gov, or by mailing comments to ODF Public Affairs, 2600 State St., Salem OR 97310.

From the Oregon Health Authority: Stay home for the holidays

People in Oregon love having a reason to gather, and there’s no better time of year to spend with loved ones than the winter holidays. We want to remind you that this year the safest activity is to stay home. If you are thinking of traveling, please consider the risk. The type of travel that is the lowest risk is traveling by car with only the people you live with.

If you do have to travel, here are some tips for increasing your safety: 

  • If you can, travel alone by car, or only with people you live with.
  • Limit stops and wear a face covering when you do have to stop.  
  • If you have to travel by airplane, train, ship, ferry, subway, taxi or ride share wear a face covering. 
  • Keep six feet of physical distance between yourself and anyone you don’t live with whenever possible.  
  • Wash your hands often. Bring hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol in case there is no place to wash hands. 
  • Stay in a separate room from others when you arrive at your destination.    

Anyone who returns to Oregon or enters the state because of non-essential travel is urged to quarantine for 14 days after arrival and limit their interactions to the people they live with.  

More information on traveling safely is available on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website, and you can find Governor Brown’s travel advisory here.  

travel safety: along the way. wear face covering when you stop, maintain physical distancing, wash hands

Stay informed about COVID-19:

Oregon response: The Oregon Health Authority leads the state response.

United States response: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention leads the U.S. response.

Global response: The World Health Organization guides the global response.

Oregon officials say person went to work with COVID-19 symptoms and sparked two outbreaks

A southern Oregon resident who knowingly went to work with coronavirus symptoms is connected to two separate outbreaks in the area, county officials said. Oregon officials say person went to work with COVID-19 symptoms and sparked two outbreaks

The unidentified person later tested positive for the virus, with officials saying they were responsible for “super spreader actions.”

“One of those outbreaks has resulted in seven deaths, and the other recent outbreak has placed over 300people/families in quarantine,” Douglas County Public Health Officer Bob Dannenhoffer said in a statement last Thursday, according to The Washington Post. “We can’t even imagine the tremendous remorse these people are feeling right now, and we sympathize with them.”

“In addition to the super spreader events, we also have super spreader actions. This is the one of the most concerning issues we are facing right now,” he added. “The top of the list for super spreader actions are people who are unwittingly and unconsciously choosing to go to work when they are sick.”

Thirty-seven people have died in the county since the pandemic began, while the state has seen 1,347 deaths. Douglas County is one of 29 jurisdictions state officials deemed at “extreme risk” due to the virus, and the seven-person death toll for one of the outbreaks comprises nearly 20 percent of all reported coronavirus deaths in the county.

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