Klamath Basin News, Tuesday, 8/17 – Oregon Health Authority Reporting 4,396 New Confirmed and Presumptive Covid-19 Cases COVID-19

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Tuesday, August 17, 2021

Klamath Basin Weather

Air Quality Alert
Red Flag Warning in effect from August 17, 02:00 PM PDT until August 17, 10:00 PM PDT


Today Sunny, with a high near 75. Northwest wind increasing to 15 to 20 mph in the afternoon.

Wednesday Patchy smoke. Sunny, with a high near 78.
Thursday Sunny, with a high near 83.
Friday Sunny, with a high near 84.
Saturday Sunny, with a high near 81.
Sunday Sunny, with a high near 88.

Today’s Headlines

There are 14 new COVID-19 related deaths in Oregon, raising the state’s death toll to 2,949.  Oregon Health Authority reported 4,396 new confirmed and presumptive cases of COVID-19 bringing the state total to 242,843.

The new cases reported today are in the following counties: Baker (18), Benton (54), Clackamas (296), Clatsop (73), Columbia (19), Coos (66), Crook (19), Curry (136), Deschutes (355), Douglas (350), Harney (11), Hood River (10), Jackson (542), Jefferson (30), Josephine (363), Klamath (15), Lane (567), Lincoln (35), Linn (178), Malheur (17), Marion (163), Morrow (13), Multnomah (504), Polk (46), Tillamook (66), Umatilla (109), Union (39), Wallowa (11), Wasco (22), Washington (166) and Yamhill (103).

The 4,396 cases reported yesterday include new infections recorded by counties for the 3-day period between Friday and Sunday. The number of hospitalized patients with COVID-19 across Oregon is 752, which is nine more than yesterday. There are 206 COVID-19 patients in intensive care unit beds, which is 11 more than yesterday.

Jackson County reported 542 new cases and Josephine County reported 363 while Klamath County reported just 15. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration Centers for Disease Control and Prevention  and Western States Scientific Safety Review Workgroup have all recommended an additional dose of COVID-19 vaccine be administered to people with moderately to severely compromised immune systems. 

young person in white mask, yellow baseball cap and pants, black sweatshirt, purple bag and purple shoes walking.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) authorized the use of federal funds to help with firefighting costs for the Patton Meadow Fire burning in Lake County.

Crews made good progress overnight addressing critical areas on the Patton Meadow Fire, which has grown to more than 6,000 acres about 10 miles west of Lakeview.

Crews fortifying the Patton Meadow road with dozer and handlines and the support of three engine crews to prevent the fire from spreading to the west into the Fish Creek drainage.Some growth on the south side of the fire across Hwy 140 was controlled and dozer lines continue to hold the fire from spreading further south.

The state of Oregon’s request for a federal Fire Management Assistance Grant was approved by FEMA Region 10 Acting Regional Administrator Vincent Maykovich yesterday. He determined that the Patton Meadow Fire threatened to cause such destruction as would constitute a major disaster. This is the third FMAG declared in 2021 to help fight Oregon wildfires. At the time of the state’s request, the wildfire was threatening homes in and around Lakeview.

The fire was also threatening power lines, cultural resources in the Klamath Basin and critical communications equipment on Grizzly Peak, including radio repeaters, law enforcement networks and a cellular tower.

Eagle Ridge High School, in conjunction with multiple community partners, launched a new, first-in-Oregon pre-apprenticeship program that aims to propel more local high schoolers into skilled trade professions.

Students who complete the pre-apprenticeship program, called Southern Oregon Apprenticeship Readiness or SOAR, will graduate with over 280 hours of local job-site experience, two years of trade-related coursework that would include construction math and soft skills as well as certifications in forklift driving, OSHA standards and others.

The SOAR program is a joint effort from the high school, Klamath Community College and the Southern Oregon Joint Apprenticeship Training Committee. According to Cappel, the program is unique in the state because of its community partners.  The Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries approved the SOAR pre-apprenticeship program in June, setting up the program’s official launch this fall.

Klamath Community College will partner with the 142nd Wing in Portland to establish an educational testing center for airmen in northwest Oregon and Washington to assist in college degree completion and career advancement.

KCC will support development of the new 500-square-foot testing center, located at the Portland Air National Guard Base, at the request of the 142nd Wing. The center will serve 1,500 enlisted officers across several military branches and is slated to open in September. The center will provide college-level examination program testing for college math and other courses required to complete a Community College of the Air Force degree or an associate degree.

KCC will provide the center with five computers and the tests will be proctored in-person, at the Portland location, once per month, by KCC employees. KCC will also provide education advising to service members who use the center.

KCC Veterans Services Director Tracy Heap noted that once the testing center is open, enlisted Oregon residents who want to take a CLEP test will no longer have to go to Tacoma, a roundtrip that can take a full day or sometimes require an overnight stay.

The Klamath County Marine Patrol will conduct free boat inspections on Wednesdays from 6-7 p.m. at Moore Park Marina 2.

Inspections will continue every Wednesday during the summer months. Once a boat has passed inspection and has all of the required equipment, the boat owner is issued an inspection decal that signals to other marine law enforcement that the boat meets all of the state requirements for safe operation

The upper loop in Moore Park and trail entry area is closed to public access on Aug. 17-18.

This includes walking, biking, and jogging, as there will be heavy equipment in the area and congestion. Visitors may use other areas of the park such as the lawn areas. However, users may experience heavy truck and equipment traffic. Work may be delayed or cancelled due to weather, equipment break-down or unexpected emergencies.

Around the state of Oregon

Regarding the wearing of masks for students in Oregon schools, Gov. Kate Brown announced Tuesday that the Oregon’s educational community needs to heed the mandate and work to ensure that students can attend school full-time and in-person this year.

“Throughout this pandemic, my north star for decisions about our schools has been to do what is best for our students. We know that students’ mental, physical, behavioral, social, and emotional health is best served when they can be in schools for full-time, in-person instruction,” said Brown.

“The Delta variant puts this goal at risk. It puts our children’s health and lives at risk. But, by again taking simple and effective precautions, we can still return our children to classrooms full-time this fall.”

Brown’s office said that most Oregon districts have been moving forward with the state’s health and safety plans for mitigating the spread of COVID-19 during the upcoming school district, but they cited “troubling statements and actions” from some local school leaders indicating that they might ignore the state requirements.

According to Brown’s office, several school boards have passed or are considering resolutions opposing Oregon’s K-12 indoor mask rule. In one school district, a superintendent reportedly encouraged parents to “make false claims on behalf of their children by requesting mask exemptions under the Americans with Disabilities Act.”

In a letter addressed to Oregon superintendents and school board members, Governor Brown called on districts to reject taking actions that defy state and federal laws in order to protect students’ health and safety.

“Because that’s the thing about masks: they don’t just protect you, they protect everyone around you,” Brown said. “Wearing a mask is an act of kindness. By wearing masks, we are teaching our children that they can protect each other in the classroom. That we can all work together to keep each other safe. When I visited classrooms this spring, I saw children who were overjoyed to be with their friends and teachers again. For them, safety protocols were not a burden but a benefit, giving them a reprieve from virtual classrooms and isolation from their peers.”

Brown’s office indicated that the mask requirement can be enforced by Oregon OSHA under state law, as with previous COVID-19 workplace countermeasures during the pandemic. Monday’s statement also implied that following current restrictions would be necessary to keep kids in the classroom full-time with “minimal disruptions.”

“I have heard much about personal freedom when it comes to masks in school board meetings and on social media. I have not heard as much said about personal responsibility,” Brown continued.

“As leaders, we have a great responsibility to our students and their futures. One of the sacred, fundamental responsibilities of a school district and its leaders is to keep the children in their care safe. It is up to us to make clear-eyed decisions based on science and fact. Flouting mask requirements will put everything we have worked towards in the last year at risk. Without the universal wearing of masks in our schools, the Delta variant will spread.”

Over the border in California conditions that suppressed the huge Dixie Fire overnight were expected to give way late in the day to winds that could push flames toward mountain communities in a region where drought and summer heat have turned vegetation to tinder.

Growing explosively at times, the Dixie Fire has scorched 890 square miles since it ignited on July 13 and eventually merged with a smaller blaze called the Fly Fire. As of the morning update, the Dixie Fire is approximately 569,707 acres with 31% containment.

There are roughly 6,579 fire personnel assigned to the incident. Ongoing damage surveys have counted more than 1,100 buildings destroyed, including 625 homes, and more than 14,000 structures remained threatened. Numerous evacuation orders were in effect.

On Sunday evening, PG&E notified 39,000 customers in parts of 16 Northern California counties that it may have to shut off power this evening due to a forecast of dry winds out of the northeast.

The City of Coburg announced this week that all events that require a permit will be canceled through the summer and fall.

According to a letter posted on the city’s official Facebook page, events including concerts in the park, the farmer’s market, antique fair and others will not be proceeding.

“This decision was not made lightly, but was made with an emphasis on the importance of community health as a whole,” the letter said.

City officials said Coburg’s older, more vulnerable age demographic combined with a lack of emergency responders was behind the decision to cancel the events.

Chinook Winds Casino and Golf Course is closing its doors due to the increase in COVID-19 cases.

The casino says that too many people are getting COVID-19 despite efforts to vaccinate staff members and their families. They hope to reopen on August 26th. Staff will be paid during the two week closure.

The High Desert Museum’s signature fundraiser, High Desert Rendezvous, returns to the virtual world on Saturday, August 28  and offers special surprises for everyone!

This marks the 32nd High Desert Rendezvous, making it one of the longest-running fundraisers in Central Oregon. The event will include a lively show, auction items and a raffle, and it’s free to all to attend online.

Terri, Robert and Bindi Irwin and Bindi’s husband, Chandler Powell, of Crikey! It’s the Irwins return with a greeting for Museum supporters.Viewers will also witness the Museum’s own Olympics as a porcupine, turkey vulture, badger and chickens compete in a nail-biting obstacle race.

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