Klamath Basin News, Thursday, 9/23 – Sky Lakes Medical Seeing 30% Increase in Patients; Temporary Clinical Care Staff , Visiting Nurses and Airmen from the Kingley Field’s 173rd Fighter Wing Helping to Control The Load

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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, September 23, 2021

Klamath Basin Weather

Today Mostly sunny with some hazy clouds in the afternoon, high near 80, overnight low of 46.

Friday Sunny, with a high near 86. Light and variable wind becoming east southeast around 6 mph in the afternoon.
Saturday Sunny, with a high near 85.
Sunday Sunny, with a high near 78.

Today’s Headlines

Sky Lakes Medical Center has seen patient loads 30% above its normal capacity for a number of weeks.

And though the number of positive COVID-19 cases continues to inch higher, the hospital said it has the situation largely under control.

As of Tuesday, Sky Lakes had 23 COVID-positive patients in house, three of whom are vaccinated. One unvaccinated patient is receiving intensive care. The medical center counted 20 positive cases at its testing site on Tuesday said Tom Hottman, public information officer for Sky Lakes.

With the infusion of 48 temporary clinical care staff sponsored by the state and federal government — including nurses, nursing assistants, respiratory therapists, paramedics and 23 airmen from the 173rd Fighter Wing unit stationed at Kingsley Field Air National Guard Base — the hospital has kept the current surge under control. Almost all nonessential elective procedures that require overnight stays have been postponed, Hottman said.

As long as the COVID surge continues, that will remain the case in order to preserve much-needed resources.

There are 26 new COVID-19 related deaths in Oregon, raising the state’s death toll to 3,649. Oregon Health Authority reported 2,312 new confirmed and presumptive cases of COVID-19 as of  yesterday, bringing the state total to 317,107.

The new confirmed and presumptive COVID-19 cases reported today are in the following counties: Baker (19), Benton (41), Clackamas (218), Clatsop (14), Columbia (33), Coos (53), Crook (12), Curry (4), Deschutes (169), Douglas (59), Gilliam (1), Grant (68), Harney (27), Hood River (9), Jackson (106), Jefferson (21), Josephine (33), Klamath (39), Lake (9), Lane (143), Lincoln (28), Linn (119), Malheur (41), Marion (266), Morrow (7), Multnomah (319), Polk (45), Sherman (1), Tillamook (12), Umatilla (72), Union (16), Wallowa (13), Wasco (18), Washington (224) and Yamhill (53).

The number of hospitalized patients with COVID-19 across Oregon is 939, which is five fewer than yesterday. There are 270 COVID-19 patients in intensive care unit (ICU) beds, which is six more than yesterday.

In the region, Klamath County reported 39 new cases.  Jackson County had 116, and Lake County had 9.

The Conquer Covid in Klamath campaign announces its winner for week 4. Patricia Merrill of Klamath Falls won $4,800 in gasoline for the next year. Patricia was selected in a random drawing of all Klamath County residents that have entered at conquercovidinklamath.com.

Each week the prize changes and this week it is $5,000 worth of furniture for your home. The drawing for this week’s prize will take place on Monday morning.

Other Weekly winners to date include: Elizabeth Gaxiola of Bonanza who won a Big Screen TV, Home Theater System and Pizza gift certificates Gillian Bradford of Klamath Falls who won $6,000 in groceries from Grocery Outlet Nolan Napier of Chiloquin who won a top of the line Traeger Grill and 12 bags of premium pellets.

There is a different prize each week along with the Grand Prize, which is the winner’s choice of a new Dodge RAM pickup or a new Dodge Durango SUV. There are numerous runner up prizes as well. To enter Klamath County residents can go to conquercovidinklamath.com. The site also lists all prizes, rules and vaccination sites.


Oregon Tech students will be greeted by a new mathematics-inspired sculpture when they return to the school’s Klamath Falls campus.

The nearly 38-foot-tall, 22,000-pound steel structure, called Fibonacci’s Arc, now rests outside the southwest corner of Cornett Hall and was inspired by the famous Fibonacci series — a mathematical equation that is expressed in wonders both natural and manmade. C.J. Riley, a civil engineering professor who sat on the committee that considered the art proposals, said some of his students did structural analysis while another student worked with Klamath Falls’ Precision Structural Engineering, the company that did some of the final engineering on the sculpture and its base.

The sculpture itself is made of layered steel. At the top point, the metal is about a half-inch thick and four inches wide. Closer to the ground, the piece widens and thickens. Fleming said the metal is nearly six inches thick at the base.

A man convicted of strangling his mother also pleaded guilty to two counts of felony witness tampering in Klamath County on Monday. Andrew Everton, 28, of Portland, was accused of trying to convince his mother to change her story or to not testify in court while awaiting trial. Everton was facing trial after strangling his mother on April 24 in Klamath County. According to a probable cause statement, Everton grabbed the victim by the neck with both of his hands, taking her down to the floor where he proceeded to apply pressure for about five minutes to the point she almost lost consciousness, court documents showed. Eve Costello, district attorney for Klamath County, said Everton’s girlfriend had to pull him off of his mother. While in jail pending trial on the strangulation charge, Everton called his grandmother on two separate occasions and asked her to convince his mother to change her story or not to appear for trial. The first call was placed from jail on Mother’s Day — Sunday, May 9. The second was placed on or around Tuesday, May 11, the court records showed.

Most areas of Lava Beds National Monument that were closed because of the Antelope Fire will reopen to visitors on Thursday. Park officials noted the Antelope Fire burned 12,540 acres in the southwestern corner of the park earlier this month. In a press release, visitor services manager Marc Blackburn said, ’With the fire 95% contained and all safety hazards along the main park road addressed, the northern entrance to the park will open to the public.” The visitor center is open 10 A.M. to 4 P.M. daily and the Cave Loop, Skull, and Valentine roads are again accessible. The campground is also open. Sites are available first come, first served basis. Blackburn said fire crews and park staff are continuing with additional clean-up efforts along with the removal of hazard trees, resource site assessments and other post-fire tasks. “As such,” he said, “some areas of the park will remain temporarily closed to the public to include the recently burned area on the west side of the park road and the following developed areas: Fleener Chimneys, Merrill Cave, Whitney Butte Trail, Heppe Cave, Mammoth Crater and the Big Nasty Trail.

James Ogle, a former Lake County commissioner, historian, author and rancher, passed away peacefully with his family at his side on September 13, 2021.  He was 96. Jim was born in Lakeview on December 12, 1924 to Clarence and Nellie Ogle. He had two sisters: Norma Cummins and Jean Davis. He attended the New Idaho School across the street from his home, starting first grade when he was only 5 years old. He was an honor student and graduated from Lakeview High School. He was asked to be a speaker at his graduation and could still deliver the poem he recited that day well into his nineties. He was president of FFA and was also a Star Farmer. Jim was a graduate of Oregon State University with a degree in agricultural engineering. He completed Navy officer training programs at Indiana’s Purdue University, Columbia and Cornell before he served as the captain of a minesweeper during World War II. In September 2011, Jim traveled to Washington, D.C. with his nephew MacAdam to attend an Honor Flight ceremony. Jim served as a Lake County Commissioner for four years, was president of the Lake County Fair Association, chairman of the Lakeview Water Users, an elder of the Lakeview Presbyterian Church where he was a longtime member of their finance committee.

Around the state of Oregon

A broken power-sharing deal, the lingering possibility of a Republican walkout and a COVID-19 case are adding greater uncertainty to whether Oregon legislators will successfully redraw the state’s political districts ahead of a tight deadline. Stakes are high as Oregon gained a new, sixth U.S. House seat following the latest census. Lawmakers were told the House would reconvene in Salem Wednesday morning following news Tuesday that someone in the building had tested positive for COVID-19. But House Speaker Tina Kotek now says the chamber won’t convene until Saturday to give time for those exposed to the coronavirus case to be tested and receive results. Democrats say their entire caucus in the House has been vaccinated. The number of Oregon’s vaccinated Republican lawmakers was not immediately available. When the House reconvenes on Saturday lawmakers will have just two days to vote on and pass new political boundaries before a Sept. 27 deadline. If congressional maps are not passed by that deadline, the task will fall to a panel of five retired judges appointed by the Oregon Supreme Court.

More than half of Oregon’s state employees have an extra six weeks to get fully vaccinated against COVID-19 as a deadline has been pushed back to Nov. 30. The Oregonian/OregonLive reports the change affects about 24,000 state employees represented by the Service Employees International Union 503 out of about 42,000 state executive branch employees. The SEIU’s success at pushing back Gov. Kate Brown’s initial Oct. 18 deadline for full vaccination may bode well for other unions. The same Oct. 18 deadline set by Brown for health care workers and teachers remains in place, Brown’s office said. Brown announced the vaccine mandate among all executive branch employees Aug. 10. At the time, SEIU made clear its plans to bargain over Brown’s mandate. Union members now have more time to complete shots but no more leeway in getting vaccinated than they did before.

Sen. Ron Wyden says Oregon’s Medicaid program will receive a planning grant of nearly $1 million in order to develop statewide mobile crisis intervention services modeled on the Eugene-based CAHOOTS program, US Senator Ron Wyden’s office announced this weekchampioned expanding the CAHOOTS model for some time, sponsoring bills intended to take it national. Ultimately, the funding came from the massive American Rescue Plan, which provides a total of $15 million in planning grants for state Medicaid agencies to set up similar mental health crisis intervention services across the country. Oregon will receive $952,951 in this initial grant.

White Bird Clinic in Eugene developed the Crisis Assistance Helping Out On The Streets (CAHOOTS) program to help bring care to people struggling with mental illness instead of involving law enforcement, wherever possible. The White Bird model has multi-disciplinary teams that respond to mental health crises in order to stabilize and de-escalate delicate situations and connect people with the services they need.

According to Wyden’s office, there has already been interest from other Oregon cities like Portland, Medford, Pendleton, and Astoria for adopting the CAHOOTS approach.

The family of a mother last seen in Medford is hoping residents in Southern Oregon and California can help find her after they said she was released from the hospital and has not been seen or heard from since. 41-year-old Marlen Sandoval’s family said the mother of three was under an involuntary 72-hour hold at Asante’s Behavior Health Clinic, when she was released after being cleared by doctors on August 26.

Padilla explained that Sandoval was previously diagnosed with bipolar psychosis and a type of dissociative disorder in Mexico. The Medford Police Department confirmed the family filed a missing person’s report on September 11. If anyone knows of Sandoval’s whereabouts, the family asks that they call Medford Police.

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