Klamath Basin News, Thursday, 9/30 – KCC Welcoming Students Back with 392 In-Person Class Courses, 119 Online Courses

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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 30, 2021

Klamath Basin Weather

Today Sunny, with a high near 75. Light winds. Overnight, partly cloudy, with a low around 44.

Friday Mostly sunny, with a high near 74. Overnight low around 42.
Saturday Sunny, with a high near 79.
Sunday Sunny, with a high near 78.
Monday Mostly sunny, with a high near 79.

Today’s Headlines

There are 21 new COVID-19 related deaths in Oregon, raising the state’s death toll to 3,771 the Oregon Health Authority reported today. Oregon Health Authority reported 2,011 new confirmed and presumptive cases of COVID-19 today bringing the state total to 328,184.

The new confirmed and presumptive COVID-19 cases reported today are in the following counties: Baker (24), Benton (32), Clackamas (131), Clatsop (6), Columbia (23), Coos (53), Crook (24), Curry (10), Deschutes 205), Douglas (53), Gilliam (1), Grant (1), Harney (14), Hood River (11), Jackson (135), Jefferson (40), Josephine (16), Klamath (48), Lake (10), Lane (100), Lincoln (46), Linn (95), Malheur (32), Marion (217), Morrow (11), Multnomah (193), Polk (95), Sherman (1), Tillamook (7), Umatilla (80), Union (32), Wallowa (11), Wasco (26), Washington (182) and Yamhill (46). 

The number of hospitalized patients with COVID-19 across Oregon is 811, which is 11 fewer than yesterday. There are 235 COVID-19 patients in intensive care unit (ICU) beds, which is two fewer than yesterday. There are 56 available adult ICU beds out of 631 total (9% availability) and 345 available adult non-ICU beds out of 4,218 (8% availability). The total number of patients in hospital beds may fluctuate between report times. The numbers do not reflect admissions per day, nor the length of hospital stay. Staffing limitations are not captured in this data and may further limit bed capacity.

Sky Lakes Medical Center went up to capacity yesterday, in spite of having fewer COVID-19 patients because of the complexities of medical center resources.  

Back in the beginning of the pandemic the possibility of double digit COVID-19 inpatients was a big deal. Since mid-August, they have consistently had COVID-19 inpatients in the high teens and low twenties. This places large and preventable strain on our medical center and staff. 22 patients are hospitalized currently at Sky Lakes.  Four are in the ICU.  All but three of the patients are unvaccinated.

Certain people who received the Pfizer vaccine are eligible for a third dose, and appointments are now open, Sky Lakes Medical Center announced this week.

While the number of COVID-19 patients at Sky Lakes has remained consistent for some time, the surge is expected to continue well into the fall and winter, emphasizing the importance of vaccination. The COVID-19 vaccine booster is available to seniors 65 and older, those who live in long-term care facilities, and people who are 50-64 years old with underlying medical conditions who have received their second dose of the Pfizer vaccine in the last six months. The booster is also available for anyone 18-64, who has received a second dose in the past six months, and who has underlying medical conditions, or is at a higher risk of exposure and transmission of COVID-19 due to their job or living situation. Sky Lakes recommended making an appointment for a booster shot at Sky Lakes Vaccine Clinic, adjacent to the Sky Lakes Collaborative Health Center on the medical center’s campus, 2865 Daggett Avenue. To make an appointment, please call 1-833-606-4370 or set up a MyChart account via SkyLakes.org. The vaccine clinic is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Gov. Kate Brown said Tuesday that she was “gravely concerned” about an alarming spike in COVID-19 cases across Eastern Oregon with a common factor the Pendleton Round-Up. 

During a morning press call, Brown and state health officials gave an upbeat update on the state’s efforts against the highly contagious delta variant of COVID-19. Statewide, the COVID-19 surge of late summer and early fall “appears to have reached its peak,” said Deputy State Epidemiologist Dr. Tom Jeanne. The Pendleton Round-Up was canceled in 2020 amid COVID-19 concerns, but plans moved forward in early summer as Brown had dropped many restrictions on activities when COVID-19 cases appeared to bottom out at the end of June. The event went off as scheduled despite a steep wave of cases linked to the the highly contagious delta variant that swept across Oregon and filled state hospitals to capacity. It’s still too early to say if cases foreshadow a new spike statewide and health officials are watching closely for that possibility.

Terri Torres wins $5,000 in furniture this week in the ConquerCovidInKlamath.com contest! Congratulations!

The Conquer Covid in Klamath campaign announces its winner for week 6. Terri Torres of Klamath Falls won $5,000 worth of furniture for her home this week.

Terri 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 an Ultimate Vehicle Package which includes $1,000 of new tires, a $500 audio system upgrade and $500 in gasoline. The drawing for this weeks 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. Patricia Merrill of Klamath Falls won $4,800 in gasoline for her vehicle. 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. There is nothing to buy and no charge whatsoever to enter. The site also lists all prizes, rules and vaccination sites.

Win Prizes including this truck….at ConquerCovidInKlamath.com

Klamath Community College welcomed back students for the start of the fall term this week with a variety of small events to help alleviate any first-week jitters.

Classes officially started Monday and KCC staff have worked to offer free food events on campus every day this week where students can come get a bite and find out about other resources the college offers.  Oscar Herrera, KCC’s director of retention and student success, said the college’s welcome week events were akin to “breaking bread with someone,” and then “we let them connect.” Much like the rest of the education landscape this year, KCC’s course delivery is fairly normal save for a few requirements — like the indoor mask mandate required throughout the state and the presence of clear, plastic barriers around the campus.  According to the college’s website, the number of in-person courses, 392, outnumbers the 119 classes that are offered strictly online this fall term. But even some of those in-person courses may be available in a livestream or remote format. Finals week for the fall term is Dec. 6-10. 

Meanwhile, Oregon Tech welcomed 55 first-year students and nontraditional/transfer students to campus for pre-orientation programs focusing on support systems available and how to succeed at Oregon Tech during the 2021-22 academic year.

The early programs include First-Year Experience Flight School with Housing & Residence Life, SOAR with Student Involvement & Belonging (SIB), and Summer Bridge through the Tech Opportunities Program (TOP). Each program is geared toward a different group of students and focuses on areas of success for each of those groups. Flight School introduced first-year students who would be living on-campus to one another and began their new community. At the same time, SOAR welcomed first-year students living on or off-campus who are first-generation students, and Summer Bridge focused on success for any nontraditional or transfer students.

Klamath County Library District Scarecrow Row Sale

The Friends of the Klamath County Library are having a gigantic sale during the Scarecrow Row event in downtown Klamath Falls on Saturday, October 30th.

The first 500 costumed trick-or-treaters to visit the Scarecrow Row home base at 9th and Main Streets in downtown Klamath Falls will find a “Bookie Buck” inside their treat bags, good for $1 of merchandise at The Bookie Joint.

And that dollar will go pretty far if you shop at the Bookie Joint on the 30th! Stop by the Bookie Joint – located inside the downtown Klamath County Library at 126 S. 3rd Street – between 10 am and 2 pm Saturday and get all the children’s books, teen books, CDs and DVDs you can cram in a bag for $1.

That’s right: it’s a bag-for-a-buck sale! You can pick a bag up while supplies last at the Bookie Joint, or bring your own (there’s no explicit limit on bag size, but please be considerate of your fellow shoppers so there’s enough to go around).

For more about Scarecrow Row and related events, visit www.downtownklamathfalls.org/scarecrow-row.html.

The Bookie Joint is operated by The Friends of the Klamath County Library, and all proceeds benefit Klamath County Library events. For more about the Friends and how you can help, visit klamathlibrary.org/friends

Around the state of Oregon

The Oregon Court of Appeals on Wednesday dismissed a lawsuit challenging Gov. Kate Brown’s initial mask mandate, saying the requirements have been revised so many times the issue is moot.

The conservative Freedom Foundation asked the Oregon Court of Appeals in July 2020 to temporarily invalidate masking rules as the court delved further into the legalities of the order. The group alleged that Brown and the Oregon Health Authority didn’t follow legal procedures in mandating masks in all public indoor spaces and outdoors when 6 feet of physical distancing can’t be maintained. The Oregon Health Authority maintained that mandate stemmed from an executive order by Brown and wasn’t subject to review as an administrative rule by the Oregon Court of Appeals. While the appeals court didn’t necessarily buy that argument, it didn’t matter. The 2020 mask order has since been superseded.

The Rogue Valley International-Medford Airport will soon feature short, non-stop flights to and from the Reno-Tahoe International Airport through a partnership with ExpressJet Airlines’ new leisure brand “aha!” Flights begin October 31, and will operate every Tuesday, Thursday, and Sunday. Planes depart Medford at 11:55 a.m. and arrive in Reno-Tahoe at 1:05 p.m. Return flights operate on the same days, departing Reno-Tahoe at 10 a.m. and arriving in Medford at 11:10 a.m. aha! said that it will be offering an introductory, limited-time rate of $49 each way until November 15. The Medford airport has seen some notable growth this year, announcing the addition of a new hotel on the airport property last week, and adding non-stop flights to and from the Los Angeles area in May.

Oregonians, and Americans across the country could start seeing slowdowns in mail delivery across the country as early as Friday when the United States Postal Service implements its new service standards.

The new changes, which include longer first-class mail delivery times and cuts to post office hours, are part of embattled Postmaster General Louis DeJoy’s 10-year plan for the agency that he unveiled earlier this year. According to USPS spokeswoman Kim Frum, most first-class Mail (61%) and periodicals (93%) will be unaffected by the new service standard changes. Standards for single-piece first-class mail traveling within a local area will continue to be two days. However, the Postal Service will be increasing the transit time for mail traveling longer distances, which will lead to slower mail delivery in some cases. According to USPS spokeswoman Kim Frum, most first-class Mail (61%) and periodicals (93%) will be unaffected by the new service standard changes. Standards for single-piece first-class mail traveling within a local area will continue to be two days. However, the Postal Service will be increasing the transit time for mail traveling longer distances, which will lead to slower mail delivery in some cases.

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