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December 3, 2023

Klamath Basin News, Thursday, 10/28 – Sky Lakes Warns Of Possible “Twindemic” as Flu Season Approaches; Oregon Reporting Another 1,360 New Covid Cases and 16 New Covid-Related Deaths

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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, October 28, 2021

Klamath Basin Weather

Today Patchy fog before 11am. Otherwise, sunny, with a high near 67. Cloudy overnight with a low around 41.

Friday A 20% chance of rain after 11am. Patchy fog before 11am. Otherwise, partly sunny, with a high near 60. Expect showers overnight into Saturday, low of 39 degrees.
Saturday A 20% chance of rain before 11am. Snow level 7000 feet. Partly sunny, with a high near 58.
Sunday Mostly sunny, with a high near 59.
Monday Showers likely, mainly after 11am. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 53.
Tuesday A slight chance of showers. Patchy fog. Otherwise, mostly cloudy, with a high near 56.

Today’s Headlines

As the state struggles to report statewide COVID numbers, Sky Lakes Medical Center warns of a possible “twindemic” as flu season approaches. 

According to the state, the issue stemmed from an unexpected server issue which caused the system to drop offline over the weekend causing a reporting backlog. Locally, however, COVID data has been collected and reported to the state by Klamath County Public Health, which means the county’s local data infrastructure is unaffected.

Valeree Lane, public information officer for Klamath County Public Health, said the issue is most likely an overloaded system that has been keeping track of COVID lab tests since March 2020. She said as of Oct. 16, Klamath County alone had more than “85,000 lab reports in the system.”

Lane said Klamath County compiles its positive case numbers from results sent in by local healthcare providers. Results for Klamath County residents tested outside of the county are also sent to KCPH to be tallied locally, she said. 

Lane said Klamath County is usually a couple of days ahead of the state in reporting COVID numbers and said the reporting lag on the state level is most likely due to an overwhelmed database system chugging through COVID data that has been sitting in the system since the pandemic began. 

There are 16 new COVID-19 related deaths in Oregon, raising the state’s death toll to 4,334. Oregon Health Authority reported 1,360 new confirmed and presumptive cases of COVID-19 bringing the state total to 362,561.

The new confirmed and presumptive COVID-19 cases reported today are in the following counties: Baker (7), Benton (25), Clackamas (111), Clatsop (7), Columbia (11), Coos (22), Crook (18), Curry (2), Deschutes (140), Douglas (60), Gilliam (3), Grant (6), Harney (2), Hood River (9), Jackson (51), Jefferson (13), Josephine (27), Klamath (48), Lake (1), Lane (80), Lincoln (15), Linn (86), Malheur (17), Marion (147), Morrow (5), Multnomah (165), Polk (38), Sherman (3), Tillamook (3), Umatilla (50), Union (14), Wallowa (2), Wasco (14), Washington (110) and Yamhill (48).

The number of hospitalized patients with COVID-19 across Oregon is 554, which is 12 more than yesterday. There are 126 COVID-19 patients in intensive care unit beds, which is one fewer than yesterday. Klamath reported 48 new cases yesterday

Community members, stakeholders and local students broke ground Tuesday on a new $1.3 million schoolyard for Chiloquin Elementary that will feature upgrades to playground facilities and provide a new, vibrant outdoor space for the community.

The upbeat ceremony was well attended as legions of Chiloquin students were ushered out of class for the event, which included ceremonial drumming and a blessing for the ground by Klamath Tribes Chairman Don Gentry.

The philanthropically-funded Chiloquin Green Schoolyard project will add a new playground, outdoor classroom, covered basketball court laden with artwork and walking paths flanked by native plants — featuring signage in both English and Klamath languages — all behind the school. In the elementary’s front yard will be a pollinator garden and greenhouse. The space, when finished, will be open both during and after school hours, creating a new public park, according to a release from the Trust for Public Lands.

TPL is a national nonprofit that creates parks and was heavily involved in making the Chiloquin project a reality.

Just in time for fall, Healthy Klamath, the City of Klamath Falls, and PacifiCorp have finished installing wayfinding signage and pet waste disposal stations along the Link River Trail.  

This was made possible by grant funding from the National Recreation and Parks Association, the Schwemm Family Foundation, and Safe Routes to Parks. Parks and trails in Klamath Falls contribute to the vibrancy of our City by connecting community members and visitors to one another, natural resources, recreational and physical activity opportunities.  

However, only 67% of residents in Klamath Falls are within a 10 Minute walk of a park, and our community continues to underutilize our parks and trails as identified in trail count data collected.

Healthy Klamath continues to work with community stakeholders and partners to further this effort and expand wayfinding signage, trail clean-ups, and trail improvements to additional trails.

Around the state of Oregon

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown received a COVID-19 vaccine booster shot Tuesday and encouraged other eligible Oregonians to discuss booster shots with doctors.

Brown had the Johnson & Johnson shot earlier this year, and received the Moderna vaccine for her booster shot.

The Federal Drug Administration and Centers for Disease Control have approved “mixing” coronavirus vaccinations for boosters. Booster shots are recommended for people who received a two-shot vaccination more than six months ago and are: 65 yand older; 18 years old and older residing in a long-term care facility, or 50-64 years old with underlying medical conditions or at increased risk of social inequities.

A lawyer who served in Oregon’s House of Representatives and Senate, as a Democrat and Republican, is supporting a petition to challenge a legislative redistricting plan adopted by the State’s legislature.

Kevin Mannix is challenging “the entire plan” through his non-profit organization, Common Sense for Oregon.

In a letter today, the organization wrote, “The redistricting plan adopted by the Legislature is now under challenge, as to the entire plan, before the Oregon Supreme Court. Common Sense for Oregon, a nonpartisan, non-profit group, is supporting the filing of a Petition for Review in the Oregon Supreme Court by plaintiffs Patrick Sheehan and Samantha Hazel.” Mannix’s Salem law firm is representing Sheehan and Hazel.

Customers of Avista Utilities in Oregon will see their rates increase beginning November 1, the Oregon Public Utilities Commission (PUC) announced on Wednesday due to an annual purchased gas adjustment.

The PUC allows for annual adjustments to the three regulated natural gas companies operating in Oregon, which includes Avista, Cascade Natural Gas, and NW Natural, to reflect the change in the wholesale price of natural gas.

Since 2007, the PUC said, Avista has had 12 rate decreases and three rate increases for this reason. The overall revenue increase amounts to $10.5 million for Avista customers compared to the company’s 2020 gross revenues. The PUC said that the increase is largely due to major weather-related events and a worldwide increase in natural gas prices.

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s 2021 Winter Fuels Outlook, nearly half of U.S. households that heat primarily with natural gas will spend 30 percent more on average than they spent last winter.

Investigators arrested a convicted felon in possession of large quantities of drugs while conducting a probation status check, according to Medford Police.

Detectives from Medford Area Drug and Gang Enforcement (MADGE) and the Illegal Marijuana Enforcement Team (IMET) learned that 31-year-old Eduardo Quinonez was involved in drug sales within the Rogue Valley, Medford Police said.

Quinonez was already on probation for a previous felony conviction, so detectives went along on a probation compliance check to his home in the 1100-block of Wedgewood Drive northwest of Eagle Point.

Medford Police said that investigators found 9.5 pounds of cocaine, 30 pounds of marijuana, eight guns, body armor, and scales and packaging for drug sales. Due to his previous felony conviction, Quinonez was barred from possessing guns or body armor. Quinonez was charged with Unlawful Possession of Cocaine, Attempted Delivery of Cocaine, Unlawful Manufacture of Cocaine, Unlawful Possession of Marijuana, Unlawful Manufacture of Marijuana, eight counts of Felon in Possession of a Firearm, and Felon in Possession of Body Armor.

The Oregon Department of Veterans’ Affairs (ODVA) will honor all veterans of the U.S. Armed Forces during the 2021 Statewide Veterans Day Celebration — which will return to an outdoor and in-person format this year, within public health guidelines.

The event will feature remarks by federal, state and local dignitaries and ceremonial elements such as a color guard, national anthem, wreath presentation and the playing of “Taps.”

Attendees should please be advised that this year’s event will be held at 2 p.m., Wednesday, Nov. 10 — the day before Veterans Day.

The event will be hosted at the Oregon State Capitol Park located on Court Street Northeast in downtown Salem — directly in front of the Oregon State Capitol Building. While the celebration will honor Oregon veterans of all eras, there will be a special focus on the contributions of Vietnam War-era veterans. The event will be followed by an optional walking tour of the site of the future Oregon Vietnam War Memorial, led by Vietnam War Memorial Fund President Steve Bates.

The event is open to the public and limited seating will be provided.

Former New York Times journalist Nicholas Kristof announced his candidacy Wednesday for Oregon governor, saying the state needs a political newbie to solve problems like homelessness and rural despair.

Kristof pointed out that many of the kids he grew up with in Yamhill, 25 miles (40 kilometers) southwest of Portland, are dead, their deaths drug- or alcohol-related. Kristoff calls them victims of inequality. Kristof joins a crowded field of Democrats seeking their party’s nomination to be the candidate in the 2022 election, including Oregon House Speaker Tina Kotek and state Treasurer Tobias Read. Democrats have held the governor’s office since 1987.

In his video, Kristof said political leaders have been unable to resolve issues such as drug addiction, homelessness, unaffordable housing, a spiraling homicide rate in Portland and weak mental health support.

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