Klamath Basin News, Tuesday, 4/6 – Klamath County Residents 18+ With Qualifying Underlying Health Conditions Can Schedule for Vaccination at Sky Lakes Medical Center This Week

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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.

Tuesday, April 6, 2021

Klamath Basin Weather

Today Sunny, with a high near 67. Overnight, clear with a low around 33.

Wednesday Sunny, with a high near 65. Overnight will be clear with a low around 31.

Thursday Sunny, with a high near 61.

Friday Sunny, with a high near 66.

Saturday Sunny, with a high near 57.

Today’s Headlines

Klamath County residents 18 and older with qualifying underlying health conditions and frontline workers who are face-to-face with the public as well as their families can now schedule COVID-19 vaccination appointments for two Sky Lakes clinics this week.

The first-dose vaccination clinics will be Thursday and Friday on the fourth floor of Sky Lakes Medical Center. Appointments can be made by calling 1-833-606-4370,weekdays 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.; no walk-in slots or on-site appointments are available. 

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown last week expanded eligibility to qualifying people 16 and older, however, only the Pfizer vaccine is approved for the younger group.

Sky Lakes expects confirmation of its allocation of the approved vaccine late Thursday and may be able to open appointments for the Friday vaccination event.    The definition of “underlying conditions” expanded last week to include people with Type 1 diabetes, current and former smokers, and people with substance use disorders. Other underlying health conditions that put people at increased risk are cancer, chronic kidney disease, COPD, Down syndrome, heart conditions, obesity (BMI of 25 or greater), pregnancy, Type 2 diabetes, sickle cell disease, and people who are immunocompromised from organ transplant or HIV are at increased risk.  

The eligibility expansion also includes people living in households with three generations or more. Previously, Klamath County adults aged 45-64 with underlying health conditions, farm and agricultural workers, people living in low-income senior housing, and people 65 and older were eligible for COVID-19 vaccinations.

There are two new COVID-19 related deaths in Oregon, raising the state’s death toll to 2,394 the Oregon Health Authority reported Monday. Oregon Health Authority also reported 248 new confirmed and presumptive cases of COVID-19 on Monday, bringing the state total to 167,128.

Klamath County did not report any new cases yesterday.

The number of hospitalized patients with COVID-19 across Oregon is 177, which is 27 more than day prior. There are 42 COVID-19 patients in intensive care unit beds, which is one fewer than day prior.

Vaccinations in Oregon

Today, OHA reported that 22,131 new doses of COVID-19 vaccinations were added to the state immunization registry. Of this total, 14,314 doses were administered on April 4 and 7,817 were administered on previous days but were entered into the vaccine registry on April 4.

Oregon has now administered a total of 1,017,667 doses of Pfizer, 929,632 doses of Moderna and 50,004 doses of Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccines.

A reminder, Klamath Health Partnership will host a second and final free, drive-thru COVID-19 vaccine event on Wednesday at the Klamath County Fairgrounds.

The event is by appointment only beginning at 9 a.m. and will offer the one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

“We know it is important for the community to be immunized, so we advocated with the Oregon Health Authority to receive this Johnson & Johnson allocation,” said Dr. Flor Mounts, medical director at KHP.

“We encourage community members to take any opportunity they have to get vaccinated, don’t wait for any particular vaccine because they all have very good efficacy. The J&J vaccine has the benefit of being a one dose vaccine instead of needing to get a second dose.”

Any Klamath County resident, regardless of patient status, may register. You must pre-register to receive a vaccination. For more information, call 541-851-8110.

Around the state of Oregon

Oregon Revenue Director Suggests Tax Rebate Be Implemented Next Tax Season

Lawmakers held a public hearing Monday on a bill that would give Oregonians some of their stimulus back. As many people found out while filing their tax return, the stimulus money was taxable income, subject to the state income tax.

Senate Bill 842 would create a tax subtraction, that would retroactively give back the tax paid on stimulus checks.

During the public hearing, officials from the Oregon Department of Revenue said they’ll have to recalculate about 180,000 returns that taxpayers already submitted.

“Just the magnitude of the number of returns that we’re talking about, it’s closer to a million. So the timing of this gets really hard if we try to do it outside of the tax season window,” said Betsy Imholt, the director of the department.

She suggested implementing this rebate for the next tax season. That way, it would include the stimulus payments issued in 2020 and 2021.

Grants Pass Police Department Is Requesting Assistance From The Public – Missing Person

Rear of vehicle

The Grants Pass Police Department is requesting assistance from the public in locating Nanci M. Dean. 

Nanci has dementia and was last seen in the area of Verizon on Union Ave. in Grants Pass. 

Nanci left in a brown 2015 Mercedes Benz, Oregon plates of 852HZS.  Photos of Nanci are attached, as well as the vehicle she is believed to be operating. If you have seen Nanci, please contact this agency at 541-450-6260.  — Grants Pass Dept. of Public Safety 

A Boeing C-32 typically known as “Air Force Two” was parked at the Rogue Valley International Medford-Airport over the weekend.

CLOSE UP "Air Force Two" - Boeing C-32 USAF Takeoff - YouTube

A Boeing C-32 typically known as “Air Force Two” was parked at the Rogue Valley International Medford-Airport over the weekend.

Newswatch 12 reports that according to Airport Director Jerry Brienza, the plane landed and took on fuel, then took off, landed again, and then departed. Brienza did not know the exact nature of the visit, though said it was likely a routine training mission.

Examples of a routine mission could be to train a new pilot to use various navigational programs the airport uses. If Medford is on a list for a potential visit in the future, it could be that the plane landed so people could get a closer look at the facility. Federal officials do not need to notify the airport ahead of time when planning a landing. They will often work with air traffic control if they need to land, such as when Kingsley Field sends jets over to perform touch-and-go operations.

Britt and OSF Urge Governor To Develop Reopening Plan for Live Venues

Britt Music and Arts Festival 2020 Postponements - Britt Music & Arts  Festival

The Britt Music & Arts Festival released a public statement on Monday, describing concerns from the industry that have gone largely unaddressed.

Britt was part of a coalition of venues, promoters, and other groups — including the Oregon Shakespeare Festival — that lobbied the Governor for a “sensible strategy” on reopening in a letter back in March. 

According to Britt, the coalition never received a response to the letter, but there was a webinar held on March 31 to address the topic. Governor Brown’s liaison Leah Horner and state epidemiologist Dr. Dean Sidelinger led the session.

Britt said that the coalition letter was also not addressed during the March 31 meeting. Meeting attendees were told “that there was no strategy, and that the Governor would not be pursuing any input from the industry.” Representatives of the venue group brought up how different kinds of venues are treated with seeming incongruity in Oregon’s risk level guidance. Even in “Lower Risk” counties, faith institutions can hold indoor gatherings at 75 percent capacity, while outdoor venues remain limited to 50percent capacity.

“The live performance industry faces many reopening challenges that other businesses do not,” Britt said. “First and foremost is the amount of time necessary to schedule, plan, and present performances. Venues require this lead time based on consistent benchmarks and regulations before they can offer live performances to awaiting audiences.

“Without them, venues cannot dependably schedule events, sell tickets, and hire staff. Many touring artists have already canceled their tours in Oregon due to this uncertainty. At this point, a single performance cancellation can potentially lead to financial collapse for many of our time-honored venues.”

Britt and the other venue organizations assert that live events will be crucial to Oregon’s economic recovery, bringing money into local economies above and beyond the price of admission — carrying over into business for the restaurant and hospitality sector.

“Furthermore, Oregon’s event spaces act as a voice for who we are; our story is told on the stages, arenas, and theaters of the state,” the venues wrote. “The decisions made today can bring Oregon back to a position of strength and sustainability for jobs, tourism, and its tax base. Alternatively, poor decisions will result in unmitigable damage to an industry that is already poised on the edge of economic collapse.”

The Josephine County Sheriff’s Office is investigating after a shooting near O’Brien in the early hours of Monday morning that left one man hospitalized.

Deputies responded to the 36000-block of Redwood Highway just after 1 a.m. for reports of a shooting that took place inside of a home. Once on the scene, the Sheriff’s Office found a 45-year-old man who had been shot. The victim was taken to Three Rivers Community Hospital for treatment. “The Sheriff’s Office is continuing to investigate this incident and will provide updates if available,” the agency said in a brief statement.While the Sheriff’s Office referred to the case as an attempted murder, it was not immediately clear if a suspect was taken into custody.

The group “No More Freeways” has filed a lawsuit against the Oregon Department of Transportation’s plan to add auxiliary lanes and shoulders to Interstate 5 by Portland’s Rose Quarter.

The federal government allowed the project to move forward without a full environmental impact statement and the group believes that’s a violation of the National Environmental Policy Act. The $800 million project is aimed at decreasing congestion and traffic accidents on a segment of I-5 between its junctions with Interstate 84 and Interstate 405, but it has faced significant opposition from No More Freeways and other Portland community groups that say the freeway expansion would increase pollution and contribute to global warming.

First-Ever Virtual Oregon Women Veterans Conference to be held May 22, 2021

The Oregon Department of Veterans’ Affairs is excited to announce the return of the Oregon Women Veterans’ Conference, which will be held virtually for the first time on Saturday, May 22, 2021.

Women veterans make up one of the fastest-growing segments of the Oregon veteran community, with an estimated 25,000 women veterans living in the state today, representing nearly one-tenth of overall veteran population.

This free biennial conference, organized by ODVA for more than 22 years, celebrates the contributions, diversity and strength of Oregon’s women veteran community, and is the largest gathering of women-identifying veterans in the state. Last year’s scheduled conference had to be canceled due to the pandemic.

“We are keeping the original theme that was chosen for the 2020 event, ‘Stronger Together,’ which seems even more appropriate considering all that has transpired for Oregonians over the past year,” said ODVA Director Kelly Fitzpatrick, who also is a woman veteran. “These challenges have only underscored the strength and resilience of our Oregon veteran community, as well as the importance of recognizing and celebrating the common bonds of service and sacrifice that unite us all.”

This year’s virtual conference will be presented using Whova, the award-winning event management platform that will enable ODVA’s team to replicate major aspects of the in-person conference, while gathering in a safe, accessible and engaging manner. The program will include inspirational speakers, informative seminars and breakout sessions, and opportunities to network with other women veterans and receive direct assistance in accessing earned benefits and other resources.

Women veterans who have served in every era and branch of military service are invited to join in this inspiring event. Attendance is free, but registration is required.

Please visit wvc.oregondva.com for more information or to register today. — Oregon Department of Veterans’ Affairs

“Oregon has long been a leader in recognizing and honoring the outstanding contributions of women who have served their country, and we are proud to continue this tradition with the first-ever, virtual Oregon Women Veterans Conference,” Fitzpatrick said. “Together, there is nothing we women veterans cannot achieve or overcome.”

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