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.
Wednesday, January 13, 2021
Klamath Basin Weather
Today Partly sunny with a high near 49.
Thursday Partly sunny, with a high near 46.
Friday Partly sunny, with a high near 48.
Saturday Partly sunny, with a high near 46.
Klamath County Public Health officials reported 32 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday. The local case count is 2,334. This week’s total is 75.
The reporting week runs from Sunday through Saturday.
With Klamath County Public Health reporting nine coronavirus-related deaths in its last two COVID-19 updates, the county has reached 30 deaths. That means about 1.3% of county residents who have tested positive for the virus have died.
KCPH Spokesperson Valeree Lane said recent deaths can be attributed to outbreaks at long-term care facilities, along with a larger volume of cases reported in the county following a November surge that has more or less plateaued. While she emphasized her condolences for the families of those who have succumbed to the virus, Lane said these deaths are not surprising given the nature of the pandemic. Though KCPH reported five deaths on Friday, all occurred on different dates from the end of December and beginning of January.
Oregon’s COVID-19 death-reporting system can take days or even weeks to log a death in county and state databases, as it relies on death certificates that must be certified by the Oregon Health Authority and Centers for Disease Control. The process is especially lengthy when deaths occur outside of healthcare facilities. Therefore, when KCPH reports five COVID-19 deaths in one update, that doesn’t mean five people died that day from the virus. However, the long-term trend in COVID-19 deaths, following the trend in cases, has been concerning.
Oregon reports 1,203 new confirmed and presumptive COVID-19 cases, 54 new deaths
There are 54 new COVID-19 related deaths in Oregon, raising the state’s death toll to 1,667, the Oregon Health Authority reported at 12:01 a.m. today. The high number of deaths serves as a reminder that the pandemic continues to pose a threat to our friends, neighbors, co-workers and communities.
The new confirmed and presumptive COVID-19 cases reported today are in the following counties: Baker (8), Benton (16), Clackamas (98), Clatsop (11), Columbia (1), Coos (9), Crook (19), Curry (8), Deschutes (56), Douglas (21), Gilliam (1), Harney (3), Hood River (11), Jackson (61), Jefferson (19), Josephine (39), Klamath (46), Lake (3), Lane (89), Lincoln (6), Linn (24), Malheur (32), Marion (97), Morrow (4), Multnomah (265), Polk (10), Tillamook (2), Umatilla (53), Union (5), Wasco, (10), Washington (155) and Yamhill (21).
Vaccinations in Oregon: Oregon has now administered a cumulative total of 115,060 first and second doses of COVID-19 vaccines. All vaccinations were administered by Oregon hospitals, long-term care facilities, emergency medical service (EMS) agencies, urgent care facilities and Local Public Health Authorities (LPHAs).
Today, 10,465 new doses of COVID-19 vaccinations were added to the state immunization registry. Of this total, 6,668 vaccine doses were administered on Jan. 11 and 3,797 were administered on previous days but were entered into the vaccine registry on Jan. 11.
COVID-19 hospitalizations: The number of hospitalized patients with COVID-19 across Oregon is 403, which is six fewer than yesterday. There are 93 COVID-19 patients in intensive care unit (ICU) beds, which is nine more 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.
The Friends of the Klamath County Library have received a grant of $2,032 from the Fred W. Fields Fund of The Oregon Community Foundation, which will help the Klamath County Library develop the “Countdown to Kindergarten” for children under 6 years.
The program is a special six session series, featuring the academic and social skills children need prior to entering kindergarten. Oregon Community Foundation (OCF) puts donated money to work in Oregon – more than $100 million in grants and scholarships support Oregonians annually. For nearly 45 years, OCF grantmaking, research, advocacy and community-advised solutions have helped individuals, families, businesses and organizations create charitable funds to improve lives for all Oregonians. Impactful giving – time, talent and resources from many generous Oregonians – creates measurable change. The Foundation makes grants through an application process that involves local citizens in the review and evaluation of requests for funds. Application materials are available through the Foundation’s Portland office.
Individuals or businesses interested in establishing a fund may contact the Medford office at 818 W. Eighth Street, Medford OR 97501, 541.773.8987 or visit www.oregoncf.org. For more information about the Friends of the Klamath County Library and how you can join, visit klamathlibrary.org/friends.
For more about the Countdown to Kindergarten program, call the downtown Klamath County Library at 541-882-8894.
Around the state of Oregon
On Monday afternoon in Grants pass, Detectives with the Rogue Area Drug Enforcement (RADE) Team, with the assistance of the Oregon State Police SW Region Marijuana Team, Oregon State Police and Grants Pass DPS Narcotic Detection K9, arrested Migueal Angel Jauregui-Hernandez.
Jauregui-Hernandez is part of a drug trafficking organization (DTO) who was bringing large quantities of methamphetamine into Josephine County via California. The investigation into this DTO has been ongoing by RADE for several months. Jauregui-Hernandez was stopped after being followed coming into Oregon from California. During the stop, GPDPS’s Narcotic detection K9, Match, alerted to the vehicle having illegal controlled substances. During a subsequent search of the vehicle, detectives located 15.9 pounds of crystal methamphetamine. Jauregui-Hernandez was taken into custody and lodged in the Jackson County Jail. DTO’s are described as being complex organizations with highly defined command-and-control structures that produce, transport, and/or distribute large quantity of illegal controlled substances; in this case, methamphetamine. Anyone with information or questions can contact Det. Sgt. Doni Hamilton with RADE at 541-450-6370 or email@example.com
House Speaker Tina Kotek is calling for Rep. Mike Nearman to resign after surveillance footage showed him letting demonstrators into the Oregon State Capitol during a protest that turned violent back in December.
She’s also sending him a $2,000 bill to cover the costs to fix the damage that resulted after he let the demonstrators inside. On Dec. 21, Oregon lawmakers were holding the third special session of 2020, which sought to address COVID-19 and wildfire relief. A protest, organized by the far-right group Patriot Prayer, was there in opposition to statewide COVID-19 mandates.
Security footage showed Nearman leaving the building around 8:30 a.m. and letting protesters inside.
The Pacific Northwest is experiencing heavy rains, flooding and landslides, along with heavy snow and possible avalanches as an atmospheric river collides with Washington and Oregon.
By 11 a.m. yesterday, Seattle and Olympia had set new rainfall records for the day with 1.34 inches in Seattle and 1.70 inches in Olympia, according to the National Weather Service in Seattle. The National Weather Service in Portland issued a flood watch through 10 a.m. today. As the event continues people may see some vulnerable land break down and the integrity of some slopes weaken, Interstate 84 in Eastern Oregon closed eastbound near Pendleton and westbound in Baker City because of truck crashes on Tuesday, according to the state Department of Transportation. Officials said the freeway would likely remain closed for most of the afternoon and that icy conditions could be expected throughout the area.
Closer to home, Central and Eastern Lake County; Northern and Eastern Klamath County and Western Lake County remain under a high wind watch. The NWS Medford office saysSouthwest winds 25 to 35 mph with gusts up to 70 mph are expected. Most likely, this will occur in the Higher terrain of eastern Klamath and western Lake Counties, but also including Highway 31 between Paisley and Summer Lake. Damaging winds will blow down trees and power lines.
Widespread power outages are expected. Travel will be difficult, especially for high profile vehicles. People should avoid being outside in forested areas and around dead trees and branches. Use caution if you must drive. Secure outdoor objects.
Committee to address rising health care costs issues new recommendations to Legislature
Today, a committee led by policy experts, citizens and stakeholders took steps that will help put Oregon on a path to keep health care costs in check.
The Implementation Committee for Oregon’s Sustainable Health Care Cost Growth Target Program adopted recommendations to the Legislature to inform actionable strategies to make it easier to understand what is driving up costs and how to address this problem.
The Committee envisions a process to ensure that health care costs are contained in the public and private sector with accountability mechanisms for health care entities. Oregon is only the second state in the nation to pass health care cost growth target legislation and the fourth to adopt such a program.
“While we have improved quality and access to health care in Oregon and expanded affordable insurance coverage to 94% of Oregonians, including all children, rising health care costs present a significant hurdle for far too many,” said Governor Kate Brown. “Per capita health care costs in Oregon are growing faster than the national average, and too many families who have insurance can’t use it due to out-of-pocket costs. This has real and disproportionate impacts on Oregonians who already face health inequities. I’d like to thank the members of the committee for their efforts to promote transparency, collaboration and meaningful accountability in addressing costs and sustainability in Oregon’s health care system. The cost growth target they have set will save more than $11 billion in commercial and Medicaid costs in the next eight years, while also promoting quality and equity. I remain committed to implementing this program, which passed with broad bipartisan support, as a critical element of Oregon’s future health transformation efforts.”
“Today’s recommendations are deeply important to our shared goal of containing health care costs for families and businesses in Oregon,” said Patrick Allen, Oregon Health Authority Director.
“These recommendations will shine a light on parts of our healthcare entire system that are most expensive and create tools to bring costs down. If we cannot get health care costs under control, our entire system and our efforts to transform the system are threatened. Now we have a plan to keep this aspect of transformation on track.”
A full report detailing the Committee’s recommendations will be submitted to the Legislature next week.
The committee actions included:
- Setting Oregon’s health care cost growth target at 3.4% for the first five years (2021-2025). The 3.4% target is based on historical economic data including Oregon’s gross state product and median wage;
- Agreeing to collect data for 2018-2020 to understand health care cost growth in Oregon prior to the target and to understand the impacts of COVID-19;
- Adopting data use strategy goals and principles;
- Adopting principles for accelerating advanced value-based payment models across payers
- Establishing a plan to monitor for unintended consequences of the cost growth target, such as barriers to access;
- Recommending to the Legislature that payers and provider organizations who exceed the cost growth target for “unjustified” reasons in CY 2022 or beyond will be required to submit a Performance Improvement Plan and may be subject to financial penalties; and
- Recommending that the Implementation Committee oversees program implementation in 2021, followed by a permanent successor committee for ongoing governance in 2022.
“For too long, families and individuals have struggled with rising premiums, high out-of-pocket costs and health care costs that prevent them from getting the care and coverage they need,” said Sen. Lee Beyer, member of the Senate Health Care Committee. “Today we take the next step in changing that reality for all Oregonians. I look forward to working with my colleagues in the Legislature to do our part in implementing these recommendations.”
“The facts are plain: We have an inequitable health care system that is far too expensive,” said Rep. Rob Nosse, member of the House Health Care Committee. “We cannot address equity and access to care without addressing costs. I’m grateful for the work of the Implementation Committee and look forward to putting their recommendations in place.”
“I am deeply appreciative of the hard work that all the Committee members undertook this year,” said Jack Friedman, Chair of the Implementation Committee. “This is a tough conversation but one that we had to have. Our committee members came with ideas, with openness to dialogue and with the spirit of collaboration that we so prize in Oregon. I’m pleased to report that we have a strong plan to present to the Legislature, which we believe will help our state achieve the goal of controlling health care cost growth.””
The Implementation Committee operated from the understanding that Oregonians pay more for health care and have higher deductibles than residents in other states. And while Oregon has already established a 3.4% growth rate for public programs, there has been agreement that Oregon must limit cost growth in the private market, where almost half of Oregon residents get their health insurance.
“Today’s meeting reminded me yet again that Oregonians have a track record of deeply meaningful work on issues relating to healthcare,” said Kevin Ewanchyna, M.D., Vice Chair of the Implementation Committee. “I thank each member and our various partners for the seriousness with which they took on this work and for their dedication to a process that has led to an important set of recommendations.”
Under the supervision of the Oregon Health Policy Board, this citizen- and stakeholder-led implementation committee was established by Senate Bill 889, which passed during the 2019 Legislative Session. In addition to setting an annual target for costs, the committee is providing recommendations for the Legislature to adopt in 2021 on how entities with unreasonable cost increases will be held accountable.
The Sustainable Health Care Cost Growth Target is modeled after a program in Massachusetts that has saved $5.5 billion for consumers between 2013 and 2016. Rhode Island, Delaware and Connecticut have also adopted similar programs.
More information about the initiative can be found at: https://www.oregon.gov/oha/HPA/HP/Pages/Sustainable-Health-Care-Cost-Growth-Target.aspx.
Jan. 13, 2021 – Salem, Ore. – Laurie Longhorn, manager of the Short Stop #1 in Hermiston thinks she will see even more customers come in now, after her store sold a $100,000 winning Powerball ticket last week.
“The higher the jackpot gets, the more people come in,” Longhorn said. “With this news we might see even more people.”
Bradley Plate of Hermiston purchased his winning ticket at the Short Stop #1 in Hermiston. Plate’s Powerball ticket for the Saturday, Jan. 9 Powerball drawing matched four of the white ball numbers, leaving one white ball number and the power ball number unmatched. By matching those four numbers, and wisely adding the Power Play multiplier option, Plate’s $50,000 prize was doubled to $100,000, thanks to the Power Play multiplier of 2 that was drawn for that drawing. The jackpot was $470 million for the Jan. 9 drawing.
The Powerball jackpot, currently at $550 million for the Wednesday, Jan. 13 drawing, is the ninth largest jackpot in the game’s history. According to Longhorn, that type of jackpot, and Thursday night’s $750 million Mega Millions jackpot are bringing some joy to retailers facing difficult times this year.
Longhorn said her store sold a larger Keno jackpot a few years ago, but to her knowledge, this is the largest prize they have sold.
“This really is awesome news, it would be amazing if we sold the jackpot ticket tonight,” Longhorn said. “We have lots more people coming in and getting tickets. Customers always tell us if they win the big one they will come back and give some to us.”
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, Veteran Services and watershed enhancements. For more information on the Oregon Lottery visit www.oregonlottery.org
Oregon Parks Forever, a statewide nonprofit, today announced the establishment of a Wildfire Tree Replanting Fund.
The goal of the fund is to plant at least One Million trees. Each dollar donated will plant a tree! Since the 1990’s, Oregon has seen significant increases in the number of acres burned statewide. 2020 saw the second largest number of acres burned since 1990.
During the summer of 2020, more than one million acres of trees on Oregon lands were burned. This was more than twice the average annual amount of damage that Oregon experienced between 2010 and 2019. This comes at a time when the budgets of public land managers are already stressed due to ongoing funding challenges and the COVID pandemic. They want to help the public lands get replanted soon, so that in the future our children and grandchildren can enjoy the same green and lush forests and landscape we have been able to enjoy.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is expanding the requirement for a negative COVID-19 test to all air passengers entering the United States. Testing before and after travel is a critical layer to slow the introduction and spread of COVID-19. This strategy is consistent with the current phase of the pandemic and more efficiently protects the health of Americans.
Variants of the SARS-CoV-2 virus continue to emerge in countries around the world, and there is evidence of increased transmissibility of some of these variants. With the US already in surge status, the testing requirement for air passengers will help slow the spread of the virus as we work to vaccinate the American public.
Before departure to the United States, a required test, combined with the CDC recommendations to get tested again 3-5 days after arrival and stay home for 7 days post-travel, will help slow the spread of COVID-19 within US communities from travel-related infections. Pre-departure testing with results known and acted upon before travel begins will help identify infected travelers before they board airplanes.
Oregon OSHA has launched a free Spanish-language online video training course to help employers and workers address fall hazards and increase safety in the roofing industry.
The course, “Fall Protection for Roofing,” is part of the division’s ongoing work to expand its Spanish-language computer-based training to broaden the audience for its educational offerings.
“This course provides a solid foundation and plenty of tools for strengthening fall protection in roofing,” said Roy Kroker, consultation and public education manager for Oregon OSHA. “But it is more than that. It also helps employers and workers address such fall hazards by removing language barriers.”
The course includes insights from industry leaders and covers a comprehensive set of topics. Those topics include hazard identification, fall protection equipment and systems, safe access, and training.
The need to address fall hazards cannot be overstated. Each year in the U.S., more than 310 construction workers are killed and more than 10,350 are seriously injured by falls from heights, according to federal data. About 81 percent of deaths from roofs occur in the construction industry.
The Spanish-language “Fall Protection for Roofing” course includes the opportunity to receive a certificate of completion. Visit more Spanish-language courses. Learn about the PESO program. Learn about Oregon OSHA’s education and training services.