Klamath Basin News, Thursday, 8/12 – Klamath County Expecting Large Increase in Covid Related Cases with new Delta Variant Surge Across Oregon

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Thursday, August 12, 2021

Klamath Basin Weather

Today’s Headlines

Health officials in Klamath County are preparing for an increase of local coronavirus cases as the highly contagious delta variant of the virus fuels a new surge in COVID-19.

Deschutes and Jackson counties have already seen that surge, and it is expected to soon impact Sky Lakes Medical Center.

According to the hospital, COVID-19 patients are younger and sicker than in prior surges — indicating the current variant is more dangerous than the previous — placing increased strain on hospital employees in an already tight labor market.

Tom Hottman, public information officer at Sky Lakes Medical Center, said a spike at Asante Rogue Regional Medical Center in Medford and at St. Charles Medical Center in Bend may be the “canary in the coal mine” for Klamath Falls

Klamath County has experienced a seven day daily average of 13 cases as of Aug. 9, according to the OHA. For Jackson County, that number is 93 cases, and for Deschutes County, that number is 65 cases.

Local health officials said that given the prevalence of the delta variant statewide, it is almost certainly circulating in Klamath County, however, no data is currently available showing the precise percentage of cases attributed to delta local

Gov. Kate Brown announced yesterday her statewide indoor mask requirement in Oregon as coronavirus hospitalizations and cases reach record high numbers in the state and health care systems are overwhelmed.

Beginning Friday, everyone who is 5 years or older in Oregon — regardless of vaccination status — will be required to wear masks in indoor public spaces. Brown had urged local officials to implement their own mandates, but almost none did.

The newest coronavirus health and safety measure in Oregon applies to all indoor public spaces, including businesses, grocery stores, indoor entertainment venues and gyms. In addition, people older than two years old will be required to wear masks on public transit.

There are some mask exemptions for activities, including eating, drinking, swimming and organized sports.

Two Klamath Falls residents were attested in the last week, accused of stealing at least five vehicles — and maybe more — in 2021.

Klamath County Sheriff’s Office deputies arrested Mekala Jade Rawlins on Aug. 4 and Tylor Christopher McMahan on Aug. on charges regarding five cases of stolen vehicles and items stolen from vehicles dating back to January.

Rawlins was charged with two counts of fraudulent use of a credit card.

According to KCSO, deputies worked with officers from Klamath Falls Police Department and deputies from Lake County Sheriff’s Office and continue to investigate cases that the pair may have been involved in which may lead to additional charges in the future.

Across the country, COVID-related enrollment decreases have largely hit community 18colleges the worst.

Preliminary enrollment data from the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center showed a 9.5 percent decrease in community college enrollment nationwide during this past spring semester, while public four-year institutions showed only a 0.6 percent decrease.

However, Klamath Community College has been able to avoid that gloomy trend — sporting a 1.5 percent boost in enrollment over the course of the 2020-2021 school year. During the previous school year, KCC enrolled nearly 6,000 students, data from the state’s Higher Education Coordinating Commission showed.

School officials credited the increase to the college’s culture and ability to meet students “where they’re at.”

Free energy audits are available for farmers and ranchers in Klamath, Lake, Harney and Modoc counties. 

The audits will be conducted by the Rural Energy Works for Oregon and California project, a collaboration of various natural resource organizations around the basin.

Right now, they are working with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which provided a year-long grant to conduct energy audits for agricultural businesses free of charge. 

Oregon Renewable Energy Center in Klamath is one organization that is part of the project. Those in Klamath County should contact Bill Lehman the coordinator for Klamath Watershed Partnership

Around the state of Oregon

Part of the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest will be closed to camping or public entry into September due to a series of bear encounters, U.S. Forest Service officials said on Wednesday.

The area of Middle Fork Applegate/Elliot Creek will be temporarily closed to public use from August 10 through September 2, although people will still be allowed to drive through the area.

USDS said that bears have been entering camps and stealing the good and garbage that wasn’t secured in bear-proof containers or locked vehicles. Officials said that this allows the bears to get to the food and becom habituated to “food rewards,” which could lead to potentially dangerous situations for both humans and the bears

The Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest said it has been experiencing numerous issues with bears across the forest due to a combination of drought conditions which mean less food and water for the bears, and people not storing their food in their vehicles or in bear-proof containers.

Portland residents began receiving text and voice alerts on their phones Wednesday morning as the region braces for another round of extreme heat.

It was unclear what agency was sending the alerts, but a recorded voice message warned residents of the potential danger as temperatures are expected to climb toward triple digits Wednesday with hotter temperatures expected for the end of the workweek.

The National Weather Service has issued an excessive heat warning from noon Wednesday through 10 p.m. Saturday, with temperatures expected to climb close to the highest temperature ever recorded in Portland in August, 107 degrees set in 1981. Daily heat records for Aug. 11, 12 and 13 of 102, 104 and 102 degrees, respectively, have a better chance of being broken, though wildfire smoke may moderate temperatures slightly.

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