Klamath Basin News, Friday, 1/22 – Klamath County Health Reporting 20 New Covid Cases and Two New Deaths

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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.

Friday, January 22, 2021

Klamath Basin Weather

Today A slight chance of snow showers before 1pm, then a slight chance of rain and snow showers, with a high today near 40 degrees. Overnight, a chance of rain and snow showers before 7pm, then a slight chance of snow showers between 7pm and 10pm. Partly cloudy, with a low around 23.

Saturday Sunny, with a high near 41. North northwest wind 3 to 6 mph.

Sunday Snow likely, mainly between 10am and 4pm. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 36. Chance of precipitation is 70%. New snow accumulation of less than one inch possible.

Monday Partly sunny, with a high near 34.

Tuesday A slight chance of snow after 10am. Partly sunny, with a high near 34.

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

Today’s Headlines

There are 24 new COVID-19 related deaths in Oregon, raising the state’s death toll to 1,832. Oregon Health Authority reported 704 new confirmed and presumptive cases of COVID-19 as of yesterday, bringing the state total to 135,142.

The new confirmed and presumptive COVID-19 cases reported today are in the following counties: Baker (4), Benton (24), Clackamas (71), Clatsop (7), Columbia (1), Coos (10), Crook (2), Deschutes (32), Douglas (22), Gilliam (1), Harney (1), Hood River (8), Jackson (42), Jefferson (6), Josephine (21), Klamath (20), Lake (1), Lane (97), Lincoln (11), Linn (23), Malheur (18), Marion (87), Morrow (11), Multnomah (123), Polk (18), Tillamook (1), Umatilla (35), Union (6), Wallowa (1), Wasco (11), Washington (110) and Yamhill (26).

OHA reported that 13,694 new doses of COVID-19 vaccinations were added to the state immunization registry.

Klamath County Public Health officials reported Thursday 20 new cases of COVID-19, and two deaths. The local case count is 2,505. Deaths is the county now number 46.

This week’s case total is 76. The reporting week runs from Sunday through Saturday.

Oregon has now administered a cumulative total of 238,760 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). To date, 436,250 doses of vaccine have been delivered to sites across Oregon.

The number of hospitalized patients with COVID-19 across Oregon is 336, which is eight more than yesterday. There are 90 COVID-19 patients in intensive care unit (ICU) beds, which is two 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.

Three people died in a head-on crash Thursday morning on Highway 140, about three miles west of Odessa near Rocky Point.

According to Oregon State Police, KC Lee Brock, 36, slammed into oncoming traffic about 8:08 a.m. when he illegally attempted to pass the truck and trailer in front of him on a sweeping corner. Police said Brock attempted to pass over a double yellow line.

Brock was pronounced dead at the scene.

So too were Charles Alvin Lundy, 53 of Klamath Falls and Betty Jane Bishop, 59 of Medford,  who were by struck Brock’s vehicle head-on.

Brock’s passenger, Kevin Calen Morris, 28,of Central Point, was taken to the hospital by helicopter with serious injuries. The crash blocked traffic on Highway 140 W for about an hour and a half. 

Around the state of Oregon

Two men were hurt when a small aircraft crashed in southwestern Oregon. Police report the two men were being treated Thursday for non-life threatening injuries, according to Jackson County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Mike Moran.

Both men are believed to be in their 20s, and one has serious injuries, he said. Their names haven’t been released. The incident was first reported at 11:48 a.m. Thursday as a small Piper Cub-like aircraft appeared to be making an emergency landing in Eagle Point. On its way down, the plane hit a fence and crashed into a field on private property.

The plane caught on fire and was destroyed except for the tail, Moran said.

In one of his last acts before leaving office, outgoing Interior Secretary David Bernhard on Tuesday granted Hammond Ranches Inc. a 10-year grazing permit, curtailing any potential administrative appeals in the face of vehement opposition from environmental advocacy groups.

In February 2014, the U.S. Bureau of Land Management rejected the Hammonds’ renewal application, citing the criminal convictions of father Dwight Hammond Jr. and son Steven Hammond for setting fire to public lands.

Paul Ruprecht, the Nevada-Oregon director of the Western Watersheds Project, said granting the permit just before President Donald Trump leaves office “puts politics before land stewardship.”

The Bureau of Land Management had proposed on New Year’s Eve returning grazing rights to Hammond Ranches for 10 years, citing among other reasons their “extensive historic use” of the allotments and what the federal agency characterized as their “past proper use of rangeland resources.”

A hospital in Central Oregon is reporting a COVID-19 outbreak among workers. The St. Charles Redmond hospital said late Wednesday that 31 people have tested positive, and the Deschutes County Health Services and the Oregon Health Authority are investigating, according to local media.

It’s unclear how the outbreak occurred. St. Charles Health System, Inc., is headquartered in Bend. They own and operate St. Charles Bend, Madras, Prineville and Redmand. Simmons, St. Charles’ chief operating officer, said Wednesday evening that 10 of the 31 caregivers had received the first of two doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. She said some may have gotten the second dose, but could not confirm that.

She said the 31 people infected will be on paid furlough for two weeks, and that they must be symptom-free and test negative for the virus before returning to work.

Gov. Kate Brown delivered the 2021 State of the State address on Thursday. The speech comes as the state continues to face unique struggles due to the pandemic, social unrest, and the wildfires that happened the past fall.

It was one year ago today that Gov. Brown established an incident management team to prepare for COVID-19 to arrive in Oregon. Brown said she knew the state had to be prepared. The speech detailed the state’s response to the arrival of COVID-19 in 2020 and what came next, including the release of the Ready Schools, Safe Learners guidance. Brown also touched on the protests that took place over the summer.

She said people of color are disproportionately affected by the struggles the state is facing. When fires swept through the state in September 2020, entire towns were wiped off the map, Brown said. Nine people died, and more than 4,000 homes were lost. The second wave of the pandemic hit last fall, just as the state was reeling from the recent wildfires.

Brown compared Oregon’s efforts to a marathon, saying that we’re not in a race against others, but ourselves and time. While we can see the finish line, the race is far from over, the governor added.

Josephine County Public Health officials will give a media walkthrough Jan. 24 ahead of the county’s first mass COVID-19 mass vaccination event.

Members of the media are invited to attend the 8:30 a.m. event at the Josephine County Fairgrounds at the Square Dance building. There they can witness day-of training of staff and volunteers, get a review of the process and see what preparations have been made.

At the end of the walkthrough, Public Health Director Mike Weber will receive his first COVID-19 vaccination. A question-and-answer period will follow. The walkthrough is expected to conclude at 10 a.m. to coincide with the opening of the clinic.

Josephine County Public Health, with the support of several partner organizations from throughout the community, is hosting a two-day COVID-19 vaccination clinic from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Jan. 24 and 25 at the Josephine County Fairgrounds in Grants Pass. A second clinic is planned for noon to 4 p.m. Jan. 26 at Illinois Valley High School, 625 E. River St. in Cave Junction.

The Oregon National Guard and Asante, as well as other community partners, are working together to provide at least 3,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccines to Josephine County. The vaccine will be available to all individuals in Phase 1a, as well as teachers and school staff members serving students pre-kindergarten through 12th grade. Find out more about eligibility at covidvaccine.oregon.gov.

Those who have had immediate allergic reactions of any severity to food, drug injections or insect stings should not attend these clinics and should contact their primary care provider.

Additional information on how to participate in the clinics and when to arrive will be posted to http://www.co.josephine.or.us/Page.asp?NavID=2288.

MONMOUTH, Ore. – Western Oregon University (WOU) has announced that spring term classes at both the Monmouth campus and WOU:Salem will continue as mostly online, in an effort to “Embrace the Now.” As with fall and winter terms, only a small number of arts and science lab-based courses will be offered in person, while following social distancing protocols.

“We had hoped to be able to offer more in-person classes for spring, but the COVID-19 metrics and current safety protocols have led us to this decision,” said WOU President Rex Fuller.

Spring term begins March 29, 2021. This decision was announced now to provide students ample time to make decisions about spring term courses and seek advising support before class registration opens in February. The course delivery method does not impact tuition as tuition is billed at the same rate per credit for all class formats.

The university anticipates announcing what Commencement will look like on the first day of spring term. Currently, there is a survey open for students to offer input on several Commencement models. Spring sports (baseball, softball, track) are expected to be allowed starting next month, pending any changes from the Great Northwest Athletic Conference. Details about whether spectators will be allowed are being determined.

Scam Alert from Umpqua Bank Oregon

Since the onset of the pandemic, criminals have used tactics like identity theft and social engineering to defraud government and healthcare programs and illegally cash in—and the new year has brought some new material for them to keep up their scams.

COVID-19 vaccinesNew PPP loans. Expanded government assistance. All are positive developments toward addressing the pandemic’s impact, but they also afford opportunities for criminals to fraudulently exploit.

The Threats Continue

On December 21, federal agencies alerted the public regarding the high potential for fraud during the pandemic, especially now that a vaccine is available. Meanwhile, fraudsters are continuing their global phishing and spoofing campaigns, baiting victims with bogus promises of COVID-19 testing, grants, and prescription cards in exchange for personally identifiable information (PII).

“Given the impact COVID-19 has had on all of our lives, it’s no surprise that fraudsters are using it to target peoples’ money and sensitive information,” says Kathryn Albright, Global Payments & Deposits Executive with Umpqua Bank. “But if you know what kinds of red flags to be aware of right now, it can really help protect your business, and you personally, in the long-run.”

Beware of These Scams

  • Recorded phone calls (“Robocalls”) offering the chance to avoid lines and get vaccinated sooner for a set price (e.g., $79.99).
  • Advertisements and price gouging for the sale of fake or potentially dangerous (and unapproved, illegitimate) COVID-19 “medicine” or treatments.
  • Solicitations, whether in person or via text, email, or phone, asking you to provide account information (financial or medical), click an unfamiliar or unexpected link, or visit an unfamiliar webpage in order to “sign up” for treatment.
  • Bogus “contact tracers” who reach out to unsuspecting victims and ask for PII (e.g., Medicare number or financial information) or attempt to collect payment for scheduling a test. Legitimate contact tracers don’t need such information or payment.

Tips to Note

According to the AARP, the key points federal officials want the public to understand when it comes to preventing such scams are:

  • Go to a trusted source for vaccine information (e.g., your doctor or local health department).
  • Don’t buy a vaccine or treatment off the Internet.
  • The vaccine is provided at no cost, although providers may charge a fee for administration (that can be reimbursed).
  • Ignore any solicitations about the vaccine that are delivered to you via text message, social media, phone call, email, or in person, because health officials are not contacting eligible people using these methods.
  • Don’t give money or any type of PII to an unexpected or unfamiliar party contacting you about COVID-19, because fraudsters can use such information to defraud healthcare organizations and commit identity theft.

Remain Vigilant

For additional information regarding the COVID-19 response and updated vaccine distribution details, visit trusted sites like CDC.gov and the FDA vaccine web page periodically—and exercise caution regarding unexpected or unfamiliar communications on the topic.

If You See Something, Say Something

“Fraudsters are adapting fast, and even the smallest amount of fraud can quickly become a scam epidemic,” says Albright. “Try to stay ahead of the fraud game and always keep a healthy skepticism; hyper-vigilance is necessary, even regarding an unexpected opportunity for COVID-19 treatment, as it’s often said, ’If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.’”

Contact your local law enforcement agencies if you think you’ve received fraudulent communication regarding COVID-19 treatment. If you suspect that your Umpqua Bank account has been compromised, contact our Customer Resource Center at (866) 486-7782 as soon as possible for assistance.

A prominent member of the Proud Boys who organized large rallies in Portland is facing charges in connection with the attack on the U.S. Capitol two weeks ago.  

Federal agents caught Joe Biggs in Florida and took him into custody.  Prosecutors say the right-wing extremist was among the first people who rampaged through the Capitol Rotunda.  Biggs previously helped draw hundreds of right-wing activists to Portland in 2019.

A Vancouver, Washington man was sentenced to federal prison today for failing to comply with sex offender supervision and registration requirements designed to protect the community from predatory acts, announced U.S. Attorney Billy J. Williams.

Joseph Alonzo Lugo, 50, was sentenced to one year and one day in federal prison and five years’ supervised release. As a condition of his post-prison supervision, Lugo will be required to undergo sex offender treatment and mental health counseling.

According to court documents, Lugo was required to register as a sex offender after pleading guilty in state court, in August 2017, to communicating with a minor for immoral purposes and, less than a year later, pleading guilty to second-degree child molestation. In the latter case, Lugo sexually abused a family member younger than five and served 11 months in prison. He was released in September of 2019 and stopped registering as a sex offender in December of 2019.

On December 31, 2019, Lugo absconded from Washington State supervision and took up residence in Eugene. Shortly thereafter, U.S. Marshals Service deputies began investigating Lugo’s whereabouts and, on April 14, 2020, located him at a house in Eugene. The deputies’ investigation revealed that Lugo had interacted with several children at the house while in non-registration status, though the investigation revealed no evidence of additional sexual offenses. Lugo was arrested on April 14, 2020.

On April 13, 2020, Lugo was charged by criminal complaint with failing to register as a sex offender. He pleaded guilty on October 15, 2020.

This case was investigated by the U.S. Marshals Service. It was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney William M. Mclaren and Certified Law Student Kara Greenaway.

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