Klamath Basin News, Thursday, 5/6 – More Covid-19 Vaccination Events Happening for 16 & Older from Sky Lakes Medical Center and Klamath Health Partnership

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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 Insuranceyour local health and Medicare agents.

Thursday, May 6, 2021

Klamath Basin Weather

Today Sunny, with a high near 67.

Friday Sunny, with a high near 57.
Saturday Widespread frost before 7am. Otherwise, sunny, with a high near 66.Areas of frost overnight with a low around 36.
Sunday Sunny, with a high near 66

Today’s Headlines

There is one new COVID-19 related death in Oregon, raising the state’s death toll to 2,509, the Oregon Health Authority reported on Wednesday.

Oregon Health Authority also reported 808 new confirmed and presumptive cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday, bringing the state total to 188,417. The number of hospitalized patients with COVID-19 across Oregon is 330, which is 15 fewer than day prior. There are 83 COVID-19 patients in intensive care unit beds, which is four more than Tuesday.

According to the OHA report, there are 37 new cases of Covid in Klamath County.

The new confirmed and presumptive COVID-19 cases reported today are in the following counties: Baker (4), Benton (17), Clackamas (119), Clatsop (2), Columbia (6), Crook (16), Curry (1), Deschutes (81), Douglas (12), Grant (2), Hood River (5), Jackson (40), Jefferson (3), Josephine (18), KIamath (37), Lake (3), Lane (43), Lincoln (1), Linn (36), Malheur (7), Marion (59), Morrow (2), Multnomah (164), Polk (15), Tillamook (2), Umatilla (8), Union (1), Wallowa (2), Wasco (1), Washington (84) and Yamhill (17).

Vaccinations in Oregon

oday, OHA reported that 30,994 new doses of COVID-19 vaccinations were added to the state immunization registry. Of this total, 21,621 doses were administered on May 4 and 9,373 were administered on previous days but were entered into the vaccine registry on May 4.

Oregon has now administered a total of 1,687,447 first and second doses of Pfizer, 1,334,561 first and second doses of Moderna and 99,793 single doses of Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccines. As of today, 1,331,526 people have completed a COVID-19 vaccine series. There are 1,885,466 who have had at least one dose.

Sky Lakes Medical Center is taking steps to make getting a COVID-19 vaccination as convenient as possible.

Walk-ins so persons 16 and older can get COVID-19 vaccinations are welcome 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Just sign in at Sky Lakes registration near the medical center’s main entrance and staff will help with the rest. In addition, vaccinations to protect from COVID-19 are now available for patients at Sky Lakes primary care clinic and Cascades East family medicine clinic. Both clinics are in the Sky Lakes collaborative health center on the medical center campus.

Klamath Health Partnership and Klamath Union High School will host a Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine event targeting 16- to 18-year-olds on Saturday, May 8.

The event will take place at the Klamath Union Courtyard from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and will include free food, drinks, music and prizes. Klamath Union students are encouraged to attend, but anyone may come if they meet the eligibility guidelines. Attendees must have identification showing date of birth such as a driver’s license, school ID or birth certificate. The goal of the clinic is to reach younger age groups before they are out of school for the summer  A provider will be on-site to answer any questions. Attendees should expect a check-in and screening process before moving to a vaccination station to receive their first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine. Attendees will be observed for 15 to 30 minutes following their vaccination. After the observation period, attendees are invited to stay for free food and drinks and chances to win prizes from local vendors.

Oregon is indefinitely extending a workplace rule adopted last fall that requires employers to adhere to specific safety measures to reduce the spread of COVID-19.

Under the rule, employers must ensure that their employees wear masks and maintain physical distance in the workplace, among other requirements. The Oregon Occupational Safety and Health Administration (Oregon OSHA) said the rule will remain in effect until it is no longer needed to address the potential spread of COVID-19 in the workplace.

A prescribed fire that started Tuesday northeast of Chiloquin is now classified as a wildfire.

Now known as the Meadow Fire, it is burning about 5 miles northeast of Chiloquin but is moving away from the community, according to fire managers. The initial plan was to treat about 4,000 acres to reduce fuels and the danger of extreme wildfire in the area. About 345 acres were burned successfully on Tuesday. But a decision was made Wednesday morning to postpone any additional burning and instead secure fire lines. But, according to fire crews at the scene, “things deteriorated faster than expected” on Wednesday.

With morning temperatures in the high 60s and smoke filling the sky, it feels more like late summer in the Klamath Basin than the beginning of May.

Based on smoke modeling and communications from Forest Service staff, the particulates are coming from several prescribed burns in the area.  Smoke early yesterday came from the Stateline/Strawberry prescribed burn in the Fremont-Winema National Forest, a little more than halfway between Klamath Falls and Lakeview. Crews there already burned 6,580 acres on Monday and Tuesday and expect to burn about 1,000 more.

The Forest Service estimates the total size of the burn to be 8,000 to 9,000 acres once it’s finished. Burns are meticulously planned and controlled by public lands managers to ensure minimal impact to surrounding communities, according to the Forest Service.

Klamath County Sheriff’s Office deputies pursued a man Tuesday afternoon who fled from a traffic stop on Bliss Road.

According to KCSO, a deputy attempted a traffic stop on a man who was speeding and the deputy suspected was driving under the influence. KCSO said he gave false identification to the deputy before getting into a physical altercation with the deputy and getting back in his car. Officers pursued the man for about 28 minutes from Bliss Road, onto Highway 140 E past Sprague River, to the Klamath Falls Forest Estates, where he abandoned his car and took off on foot. A K-9 unit and air unit responded to the area while they searched Klamath Forest Estates for the man but were unable to find him. KCSO has not identified the man but is still investigating. Any immediate threat to the community is unknown.

Around the state of Oregon

A bill requiring secure gun storage and allowing for restrictions on concealed carry passed the Oregon Senate in a concurrence vote on Wednesday, ensuring that it will go to Governor Kate Brown’s desk for signing into law.

Senate Bill 554 passed the Oregon House at the end of April, and previously passed in the Senate. Wednesday’s vote approved modifications to the original bill which added the gun storage requirements. One aspect of the bill requires that guns be stored either with a cable lock, in a locked storage container, or in a gun safe. Failure to do so could result in a $500 fine, and the fine increases to $2,000 if the gun ends up in the hands of a minor.

Guns would have to be likewise secured when transferred. The bill would also require that the owner of a lost or stolen gun report it within 72 hours from when they “reasonably should have known” it was missing, House Democrats said last week.

Josephine County announces death of COVID-19 patient

JOSEPHINE COUNTY, Ore. — A Josephine County individual has died from complications relating to a COVID-19 infection. A 70-year-old woman tested positive for COVID-19 April 21 and died April 30 at her home. She had underlying conditions.

Josephine County now has a total of 70 COVID-19-related deaths. Of those patients, 69 died from complications relating to COVID-19 infections.

The Josephine County Sheriff’s Office says that a Washington man died after falling along the Rogue River Trail northwest of Galice on Tuesday.

The Sheriff’s Office said it received a report of an injured hiker shortly before 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday. The message came through the International Emergency Response Coordination Center, originating from a personal satellite tracker. Authorities tried to respond to the satellite message, but were unsuccessful. The hikers were reportedly near the Black Bar Lodge, and the Rogue River Trail is located across the river from the lodge.

The Sheriff’s Office requested help from the U.S. Coast Guard in responding to the remote area. Just after 8:30 p.m., a Coast Guard helicopter found the fallen hiker on a large cliff between the trail and the Rogue River.

Oregon State University will require students and employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19 starting in the fall term.  Students who are enrolled exclusively in online courses won’t be required to be vaccinated.  

The school is still working out details of the program and how students and employees will need to show they’ve been vaccinated.  There will also be an exemption policy that would allow some people to avoid being vaccinated.

Dutch Bros Coffee Considering IPO

Dutch Bros Coffee is considering an initial public offering by the end of the year, according to a Bloomberg report this week that cited multiple sources.

The report said the company, which received a minority investment in 2018 from the private equity group TSG Consumer Partners, is talking with advisors and is seeking a valuation of $3 billion.

A representative for the fast-growing coffee chain, however, called the report “pure speculation.” But the representative also noted there are “several ways” a private equity can exit its investment—not just an IPO.

Dutch Bros Coffee recently made headlines with the instant success of its rewards program, Dutch Rewards, created in partnership with Paytronix, which drew 1.4 million users within its first month. In addition to offering loyalty points, the rewards app also features contactless payment options, both of which are features that encourage a significant share of customers to spend more on their order. As Paytronix CEO Andrew Robbins said in the release announcing this milestone, “The Dutch Bros app not only uses wallets and app stickers, but also has a level of gamification that shows the type of creativity that we love to see from our customers and partners.”

However, in the leadup to this potential IPO, it is worth noting that U.S.-based coffee shops are hardly a bull market right now. Research firm Allegra World Coffee Portal estimates that sales for U.S. branded coffee shops fell 24 percent during 2020, and that these sales will not return to pre-pandemic levels until 2023.

Dutch Bros has benefitted, since the start of the pandemic, from being a primarily drive-thru business, a low-contact ordering channel that has fared well during the past 14 months. Rather than competing with coffee shop chains that push delivery, which Dutch Bros does not offer, and chains that center the sit-down experience, which represents only a small portion of Dutch Bros’ business, Dutch Bros focuses on its drive-thru strength.

Across the U.S., coffee shop businesses have been looking for ways to adapt to consumers’ changed behaviors in response to the pandemic. The National Coffee Association recently announced the results of its Spring 2021 National Coffee Data Trends (NCDT) survey, which found that drive-thru and app-based ordering are each up 30 percent since the start of 2020, that coffee preparation in the workplace is down 55 percent, that over 40 percent of Americans tried new types of coffee during the pandemic, and that 85 percent of coffee drinkers consume at least one cup at home each day.

To capture this rising interest in at-home coffee consumption and this willingness to try new coffee flavors, many brands have been pushing their coffee subscription programs. (Dutch Bros offers its own monthly subscription, but the program is not central to its product strategy.) In the crowded subscription space, brands must have a unique value proposition to thrive.

Hiker Dies Along Rogue River Trail In Josephine County

On Tuesday, May 4, 2021 at approximately 6:22 PM, the Josephine County Sheriff’s Office received a report of an injured hiker on the Rogue River Trail.  The message was received from the International Emergency Response Coordination Center by way of a personal satellite tracker. 

The message was sent from an uninjured hiker who was hiking the Rogue River Trail with the male victim who fell and was reported to be unconscious.  Attempts to respond to the satellite message were unsuccessful.  While the hikers were reported to be near the Black Bar Lodge, the Rogue River Trail is across the river from the lodge. 

Due to the remote location of the incident, assistance was requested from The United States Coast Guard.  Around 8:32 PM, a Coast Guard helicopter located the patient in question on a large cliff between the Rogue River Trail and the Rogue River. 

The patient was extracted by the Coast Guard and transported via helicopter to the Merlin Airport.  Upon arrival, the patient, identified as 77-year-old Ernest Bolz from Wenatchee, Washington was pronounced deceased.  Next of kin have been notified.  As of this morning, Search and Rescue personnel are attempting to make contact with the companion hiker of Mr. Bolz.   — Josephine Co. Sheriff’s Office

Fatal Motor Vehicle Accident In Josephine County

On Wednesday, May 5, 2021 at approximately 12:11 AM Deputies from the Josephine County Sheriff’s Office, personnel from Rural Metro Fire Department and American Medical Response were dispatched to a crashed vehicle reportedly on fire in the 300 block of Limpy Creek Road. 

Upon arrival, emergency personnel located an SUV which had crashed into a tree and was on fire.  One deceased occupant was located in the driver seat of the vehicle; however, identification has not been made.  This incident is still under investigation by the Sheriff’s Office.  More details will be released when available.  Anyone with information regarding this incident is asked to call the Sheriff’s Office at 541-474-5123.   Josephine Co. Sheriff’s Office 

Wild Fire Awareness: Free Preparedness and Prevention Webinar Thursday 5/6 12pm

May is Wildfire Awareness Month, and the Oregon Office of Emergency Management (OEM) is scheduled to host a wildfire preparedness and prevention panel webinar event in partnership with Keep Oregon Green, Oregon Office of State Fire Marshal, Oregon Department of Forestry, Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office, and the Oregon State University Forestry & Natural Resources Extension Fire Program.

WHEN: 12 p.m. Thursday, May 6. The webinar is scheduled for 40-minutes with time allowed for Q&A.

WHERE: Register here: https://bit.ly/3dH4bOk   

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email with information about joining the event. Pre-registration is required to attend.

OEM will also live stream the webinar on the agency Facebook page:  https://www.facebook.com/OMDOEM/.

A prescribed fire that started Tuesday northeast of Chiloquin is now classified as a wildfire.

Now known as the Meadow Fire, it is burning about 5 miles northeast of Chiloquin but is moving away from the community, according to fire managers. The initial plan was to treat about 4,000 acres to reduce fuels and the danger of extreme wildfire in the area. About 345 acres were burned successfully on Tuesday. But a decision was made Wednesday morning to postpone any additional burning and instead secure fire lines. But, according to fire crews at the scene, “things deteriorated faster than expected” on Wednesday.

With morning temperatures in the high 60s and smoke filling the sky, it feels more like late summer in the Klamath Basin than the beginning of May . Based on smoke modeling and communications from Forest Service staff, the particulates are coming from several prescribed burns in the area. 

Smoke early yesterday came from The Stateline/Strawberry prescribed burn in the Fremont-Winema National Forest, a little more than halfway between Klamath Falls and Lakeview. Crews there already burned 6,580 acres on Monday and Tuesday and expect to burn about 1,000 more. The Forest Service estimates the total size of the burn to be 8,000 to 9,000 acres once it’s finished. Burns are meticulously planned and controlled by public lands managers to ensure minimal impact to surrounding communities, according to the Forest Service.

Oregon Wildfire Recovery Update

The Oregon Office of Emergency Management has posted the Oregon Wildfire Recovery Update for May 05, 2021, to the Oregon Wildfire Resources page. See today’s Wildfire Recovery update here.

April 21, 2021 – The Oregon Debris Management Task Force uses heavy equipment to clear a property in Detroit, Oregon, from ash and debris left in the wake of the 2020 Beachie Creek wildfire. (Photo courtesy of Oregon Department of Transportation)
A screenshot of the DEQ Air Quality map from their blog to check updates on the air quality in your area. (Image courtesy of Oregon DEQ)           

Massive Search for Missing Woman Planned Near Meacham on Saturday

Umatilla County Search and Rescue and the Oregon State Police are coordinating a multi-agency search near Meacham for Deborah Hendricks, 56, of Ada County Idaho this weekend. She was reported missing in January. The search will begin at about 8 a.m. Saturday and continue through Sunday, depending on the results. The search area will concentrate on the area surrounding the eastbound side of Interstate 84 near milepost 238, where her abandoned vehicle was found after she was reported missing.

The robust search effort will include 90 personnel. There could be as many as 10 K9 teams, four drones, and 35 ground searchers. The exact number of participants will not be known until check-in time Saturday.

The search areas include portions of Kamela Highway, Hancock Road, the I-84 interchange bridge and road toward Meacham, the railroad and bridge, the road into Meacham Lake, area creeks, bodies of water, and wooded land. The objective is the search is to locate any possible items Hendrichs may have had on her person or her remains.

ODOT personnel and the Union Pacific Railroad have liaisons to ensure the safety of the search personnel since the area includes both interstate and railroad lines. ODOT is also providing the location for a command post with power and portable bathrooms. In addition, the railroad, Cunningham Sheep Company, and Hancock Timber Resource Group are cooperating with searchers since a large portion of the area is owned by those businesses.

The organizers are asking the general public to remain out of the area unless they are residents. Hunters with spring turkey or bear tags are asked to choose an alternate hunt location during those days. People who live in the area should also be aware that drones will be flying overhead. The drones are not invading homeowner privacy. They are concentrating on areas away from occupied buildings and bodies of water.

Searchers on the ground will also be staying away from occupied homes and curtilage, however if a home appears to have been vacant throughout the winter or looks to have been broken into, they will notify the landowner in an attempt to eliminate any possibility that the missing woman may have entered an unoccupied residence or structure seeking assistance. A website has been developed for information on this mission. There is also a separate email address for anyone with questions prior to and during the search. Any updates on the search will be posted on the website at https://sterrinward.wixsite.com/website. The email address is debhendrichs.search@gmail.com.

Oregon Drivers Can Renew License Online Now

Oregon DMV License Renewal Using www.oregondmv.com/online

Oregonians no longer need to visit the DMV to renew their license. In addition, the federal deadline for getting a Real ID has been pushed to May 2023

Usually a drivers license or ID card renewal in Oregon requires a trip to the Department of Motor Vehicles. Starting as soon as May 5, the agency says, most Oregonians will be able to renew these documents online.

The DMV will use the photo that’s on file and mail out the physical card in about two weeks.

Spokesperson David House said the new process will help the agency work through its backlog of other kinds of transactions that have been slowed due to the coronavirus.

“It frees up appointment times at DMV offices, which are still limited by the COVID-19 restrictions,” he said. “And so this will help everybody, not just the people taking advantage of the convenience but also every other DMV customer as well.”

People who want to upgrade to a so-called “Real ID” license will still need to make an in-person visit, as will drivers who want to add a motorcycle or farm endorsement.

“We don’t know if this will be a permanent change,” House said. But regardless of whether or not the Oregon DMV offers this long-term, “if you renew online this time, then the next time you renew you’ll have to come in person, because your photo will be 16 years old by that time.”

Oregon Lawmakers Pass Gun Bill

 After much emotional debate on both sides, The Oregon House on Thursday passed a bill that would mandate safe storage of firearms, ban them from the state Capitol and allow public schools and colleges to ban concealed carrying of handguns.

The bill, Senate Bill 554, next goes to the Senate, which had passed a much narrower version of the bill before it was amended. Two separate gun bills had been watered down somewhat and then combined into one measure.

The bill is aimed at reducing the number of accidentally shootings by children who get ahold of guns, of suicides and of mass shootings. It requires firearms to be secured with a trigger or cable lock, in a locked container or in gun room. Among those who testified earlier was Paul Kemp, whose brother-in-law Steve Forsyth was killed with a stolen gun in a mass shooting at a Portland-area shopping mall in 2012.

The bill also authorizes the board of a public university, community college or school district to adopt a policy banning concealed handgun licensees from possessing firearms on school grounds.

The debate in Oregon over guns mirrors similar discussions being held nationwide, with little movement on gun control, even as the number of mass shootings climbs again as the nation eases coronavirus lockdown restrictions.

Previously, the measure imposed strict liability on people who violate the statute and whose guns are used to injure or kill another person. Instead, it now imposes a negligence standard. It also previously would have allowed local governments to prohibit concealed handgun licensees to have guns on their properties. The new version does not allow that.

The bill passed the House with 34 votes in favor and 24 against. Democrats, who overwhelmingly favor the bill, have a majority in both the House and Senate.

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