Klamath Basin News, Wednesday, 10/13 -Oregon Reports 1,413 New Confirmed and Presumptive COVID-19 Cases, 82 New Deaths

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Wednesday, October 13, 2021

Klamath Basin Weather

Today A slight chance of rain and snow showers before 11am. Snow level 4600 feet. Mostly sunny, with a high near 53. Overnight, clear with a low around 27. Northwest wind 10 to 15 mph.

Thursday Sunny, with a high near 58.
Friday Sunny, with a high near 70.
Saturday Sunny, with a high near 70.

Today’s Headlines

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Oregon reports 1,413 new confirmed and presumptive COVID-19 cases, 82 new deaths. Oregon Health Authority reported 1,413 new confirmed and presumptive cases of COVID-19 as of today, bringing the state total to 345,344. 

The new confirmed and presumptive COVID-19 cases reported today are in the following counties: Benton (34), Clackamas (83), Clatsop (4), Columbia (14), Coos (34), Crook (63), Curry (3), Deschutes (92), Douglas (39), Gilliam (2), Grant (17), Harney (21), Hood River (9), Jackson (63), Jefferson (13), Josephine (24), Klamath (84), Lake (14), Lane (119), Lincoln (8), Linn (48), Malheur (45), Marion (112), Morrow (10), Multnomah (118), Polk (64), Sherman (2), Tillamook (3), Umatilla (96), Union (8), Wallowa (5), Wasco (28), Washington (83) and Yamhill (51). 

The number of hospitalized patients with COVID-19 across Oregon is 585, which is 59 fewer than yesterday. There are 149 COVID-19 patients in intensive care unit (ICU) beds, which is 21 fewer than yesterday. 

There are 56 available adult ICU beds out of 682 total (8% availability) and 298 available adult non-ICU beds out of 4,117 (7% availability). 

Today’s total marks the highest number of COVID-19 related deaths in Oregon reported in a single day. This is in part due to a death data reconciliation.  

Death is a lagging indicator and generally follows a surge in cases. In addition, there is often a lag in reporting as our epidemiologists review death certificates. OHA expects that reported deaths may continue to be high even as daily case counts decrease. This is due to the time lag between when a person tests positive for a case of COVID-19 and when they die with COVID-19. 

The best way to reduce COVID-19 related deaths is by getting vaccinated. Safe, free and highly effective vaccines are widely available throughout Oregon. 

Third doses and booster dosesare also recommended for those who are eligible. Getting vaccinated is helping to bring the surge due to the Delta variant under control and can also reduce the likelihood of other variants emerging. 

Oregon is marking a grim new milestone in the COVID-19 pandemic. The Oregon Health Authority says the state has now exceeded four-thousand coronavirus deaths.

Health officials say one-thousand of those victims died within the last two months. Before that, it took eight months to reach that same number. Oregon Health Authority Director Patrick Allen says most of those deaths were preventable, if the victims had been vaccinated. He says the Delta variant has changed everything and he’s urging people to get vaccinated as soon as possible.  Health officials also reported two-thousand-895 new cases of COVID-19 yesterday from Friday through Sunday.

Meanwhile, Sky Lakes Medical Center said yesterday that 100% of their COVID-19  inpatients are unvaccinated. 21 patients are currently in Sky Lakes with Covid, one of those in the ICU. Death is a lagging indicator and generally follows a surge in cases. In addition, there is often a lag in reporting as our epidemiologists review death certificates. OHA expects that reported deaths may continue to be high even as daily case counts decrease.

This is due to the time lag between when a person tests positive for a case of COVID-19 and when they die with COVID-19. Regionally, the numbers reported by county are:  Jackson (63), Josephine (24), Klamath (84), and Lake (14),

The Klamath County Veterans Service Office along with the Non-Commissioned Officers Association (NCOA) are seeking nominations for Klamath County’s oldest living military veteran to be honored at the 2021 Veterans Day Ceremony.  

To nominate a veteran, contact the Klamath County Veterans Service Office in person at 3328 Vandenberg Road or by telephone at 541-883-4274.  Nominations are being accepted now through October 27. The oldest nominated veteran will be honored Thursday, November 11 during the Veterans Day Ceremony at Veterans Memorial Park in downtown Klamath Falls.

The development of future trails at Crater Lake National Park will be discussed and open for public comment during a virtual meeting Wednesday. Park officials will outline the proposed trail management plan that will help guide trail management over the next 25 years.

Two of the plan’s alternatives include proposals for the possible addition of more than 20 miles of new trails. Wednesday’s virtual meeting will run from 6-7:30 p.m. Following an overview of the draft plan and information on how to comment — the comment deadline is Oct. 21 — there will be question-answer period. The draft plan includes three alternatives.

The “no action” alternative would make no changes in the park’s existing trail network, which covers 95 miles of summer and winter trails, including nearly 35 miles of the Pacific Crest Trail.

Klamath County Cultural Coalition has received new funds from the Oregon Cultural Trust and is now offering grant funds to support cultural activities in Klamath County.

Grants not exceeding $2,000 will be awarded through a competitive scoring process. Any nonprofit organization that stages cultural events in our county can apply for grant funding support. The coalition broadly defines culture as any activity related to the arts, heritage or history of the local area. In past years, grants have supported music programs, art workshops, living history exhibitions, poetry readings, science/art camps, film festivals and more.

During this time of COVID-19, all grant projects must adhere to the current Oregon State guidelines for vaccines, social distancing, masks, and crowd size. The 2021 grant application form, with instructions, is available at www.klamathculture.org. Grant application along with W-9 submission must be-mailed (using pdf or Docx format) to richb1943@live.com no later than Nov. 19.

Around the state of Oregon

Many state taxpayers will receive a surplus tax credit from Oregon’s idiosyncratic “kicker” program, the Oregon Department of Revenue confirmed on Tuesday, thanks to a tax surplus of nearly $1.9 billion.

Instead of getting separate kicker checks, the surplus will materialize as a credit on taxpayers’ 2021 state personal income tax returns when they file in 2022. To calculate the amount of your credit, you can multiply your 2020 tax liability before any credits, which appears on line 22 of form OR-40, by 17.341%. Taxpayers who claimed a credit for tax paid to another state would need to subtract the credit amount from their liability before calculating the credit.

A “What’s My Kicker?” calculator is also available on Revenue’s website. To calculate your kicker, you enter your name, Social Security Number, and filing status for 2020 and 2021. There will be detailed information on how to claim your credit in the 2021 Oregon personal income tax return instructions: Form OR-40 for full-year Oregon residents, Form OR-40-P for part-year residents, and Form OR-40-N for nonresidents.

Composite and fiduciary-income tax return filers are also eligible.

Oregon Senators Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden Introduced legislation meant to protect 4,700 miles of Oregon rivers, calling it the River Democracy Act.

The bill was brought forward in February 2021 and has yet to be passed. This came following the nomination of more than 15,000 rivers and streams by nearly 2,500 Oregonians. A growing number of businesses from across Oregon are supporting Sens. Wyden and Merkley’s initiative, and are urging Congress to pass the bill.

A letter released in late September was signed by businesses from every corner of the state ranging from outdoor recreation outfitters to “mom and pop shops.” In 2019 alone, Oregonians and out-of-state travelers spent $15.6 billion on outdoor recreation and related expenses, supporting 224,000 jobs.

More than 24,000 nurses and other health care workers at Kaiser Permanente in California and Oregon have overwhelmingly authorized a strike, threatening to walk out over pay and working conditions strained by the coronavirus pandemic. Kaiser, one of the nation’s largest health care providers, has proposed a two-tiered wage and benefits system that would give newer employees lower pay and fewer health protections.

The unions want Kaiser to abandon that plan. They also want 4% raises for each of the next three years and a commitment to hire more nurses to relieve staffing shortages. Kaiser has offered 1% a year, with additional lump sums, and says it must reduce labor costs to remain competitive. The regional strike vote comes amid national contract negotiations between Kaiser and the Alliance of Health Care Unions, which represents more than 20 unions covering more than 50,000 Kaiser workers nationwide.

More strike authorizations could come in Colorado, Georgia, Hawaii, Maryland, Virginia, Washington state and the District of Columbia, the unions said. This weekend’s votes don’t automatically trigger work stoppages.

The union must give Kaiser Permanente 10 days’ notice before workers walk off the job, and both sides continue bargaining after their last contract expired on Sept. 30.

New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof after months of public exploration has taken a step toward running for Oregon governor by forming a political action committee.

Kristof, 62, officially filled the committee paperwork Tuesday, Oregon Public Broadcasting reported. That allows him to raise money and hire staff ahead of an official announcement of his candidacy.

Carol Butler, a political consultant who has been working with Kristof as a volunteer, somewhat downplayed the significance of the filing, calling it “another step toward a potential run for governor.” Kristof in recent years has moved back to the Yamhill, Oregon, farm where he grew up, and he’s been working to turn it into a vineyard and cider orchard. Kristof is viewed by political consultants and potential candidates as a possible contender for the Democratic nomination.

The parent company of Portland-based Umpqua Bank is selling to Columbia Banking System in a $5.1 billion deal that will keep the Umpqua brand and split the business’ headquarters between Tacoma and Portland’s suburbs.

The combined bank will put its corporate office in Tacoma. Umpqua said it will move its Portland office out of the downtown plaza named for the bank into new offices on Kruse Way in Lake Oswego sometime next year. The bank’s move out of downtown is another blow to the city’s core, which has been buffeted by protests, vandalism, homelessness, violent crime and prolonged, pandemic-related office closures.

Kurt Heath, Umpqua’s vice president of corporate communicaitons, said in a written statement that the pandemic fundamentally changed the bank’s operations as more of its employees began working remotely.

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