Klamath Basin News – Klamath County With 108 New Covid Cases Overnight, Most in the State; COVID-19 Booster Shots Now Available in Klamath County As Are Vaccines for Children Age 5-11

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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, November 4, 2021

Klamath Basin Weather

Today A 40% chance of showers. Snow level 6400 feet. Partly sunny, with a steady temperature around 49. Breezy, with a southwest wind 20 to 22 mph, with gusts as high as 33 mph. Tonight, partly cloudy, with a low around 33.

Friday Mostly cloudy, with a high near 51. South southeast wind 5 to 7 mph. Cloudy overnight with a low around 37.
Saturday A 40% chance of rain. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 50.

Today’s Headlines

There are 29 new COVID-19 related deaths in Oregon, raising the state’s death toll to 4,405. Oregon Health Authority (OHA) reported 1,123 new confirmed and presumptive cases of COVID-19 as of yesterday morning, bringing the state total to 368,694.  

The new confirmed and presumptive COVID-19 cases reported today are in the following counties: Baker (6), Benton (18), Clackamas (87), Clatsop (5), Columbia (13), Coos (26), Crook (13), Curry (5), Deschutes (113), Douglas (42), Gilliam (1), Grant (5), Hood River (5), Jackson (77), Jefferson (26), Josephine (39), Klamath (108), Lake (5), Lane (42), Lincoln (15), Linn (68), Malheur (18), Marion (91), Morrow (1), Multnomah (131), Polk (38),Tillamook (10), Umatilla (30), Union (3), Wallowa (3), Wasco (11), Washington (128) and Yamhill (31).

For the first time ever, Klamath County had more new covid cases than any other county in the state, reporting 108 confirmed or presumptive cases.

There are 116 COVID-19 patients in intensive care unit (ICU) beds, which is two more than yesterday. Sky Lakes Medical Center is reporting they are at surge status at this point, with 27 patients fighting Covid.  Six of those patients are in intensive care, and none in intensive care are vaccinated.

COVID-19 booster shots are available in Klamath County as are vaccines for children age 5-11, which was approved last Tuesday night.

Both are currently available in Klamath County at the Sky Lakes Medical Center COVID-19 Vaccination Clinic, 2801 Daggett Avenue.

Pharmacies like Rite Aid, Albertsons, Fred Meyer, Bi-Mart and Walmart as well as Klamath Tribal Health, 330 Chiloquin Boulevard, and Klamath Open Door Family Practice, 2074 S 6th Street all offer the shot as well.

The shots are available for children ages 5 to 11 at doses just a third of the amount given to teens and adults.

Tom Hottman, public information officer at Sky Lakes Medical Center said those who received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine — considered the least effective out of the three available vaccines — would do well to select a booster from either the Pfizer or Moderna to increase effectiveness.

More than 80% of Oregon adults have received at least one dose of a vaccine, according to OHA.

In Klamath County, 56.4% of adults have gotten the shot. In order for Klamath to reach an 80% vaccination rate, 12,969 more people need to get vaccinated, OHA data showed.

In northern Klamath County, all grades at Gilchrist School have transitioned to distance learning due to widespread COVID-19 in the community.  Teachers have distributed supplies – including Chromebooks – to students who need them.  The district hopes to return to in-person classes after Thanksgiving Break.

Friends of the Children-Klamath Basin, will launch its Annual Potato Sale Fundraiser Saturday, Nov. 6 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., in the parking lot of Klamath Falls Subaru on Washburn Way.

The potatoes are premium russets donated by CAL-ORE Produce. They will be sold in 20-pound boxes for $20, with all proceeds directly supporting youth mentoring.

Beginning Nov. 8, potatoes will be available for purchase from these community partners: Country Financial Insurance and Financial Services (5031 S. 6th St.), First Interstate Bank (South 7th Street), Les Schwab Tire Center (South 6th Street), Pacific Crest Federal Credit Union (Washburn Way and South 6th Street) and WaFd Bank (South 6th Street and Main Street). Also beginning Nov. 8, potatoes are available for delivery in Klamath Falls or pickup, by appointment, at 3837 Altamont Drive.

Call 541-273-2022 to set up. Friends of the Children is a national nonprofit that works to empower youth through relationships with professional mentors. It originated in Portland in 1993 and was established in Klamath Falls in 2000. Learn more at friendsklamath.org.

The Salvation Army in Klamath Falls is now accepting applications for Christmas food and gifts for children through December 3.

Pick up applications at the Salvation Army office, located at 2960 Maywood Drive. The office is open Mondays and Wednesdays from 8 a.m. to noon and from 1-3 p.m. and on Fridays from 1-3 p.m. For information, call 541-882-5280 or Debi at 541-892-2723.

The National Weather Service is predicting a wetter-than-normal season for the Klamath Basin, expecting above average precipitation to continue to soak the area through at least January

According to NWS meteorologist Brett Lutz, the second half of October was wet enough to finally put an end to the longest fire season on record for Klamath Falls.

On average, the Klamath Falls area gets doused by about 0.74 inches of rain in the month of October. This year, it received 2.31 inches — or 312% of the normal, Lutz said. Klamath Falls receives an average of 13.41 inches of rain in a given water year. A water year begins Oct. 1 and runs through Sept. 30 of the following year.

Last water year precipitation was hard to come by. Only 5.9 inches fell all year, exacerbating an intermittent drought that has hampered the area since 2008. But Lutz said this year is off to a much better start and may continue that way for months.

Around the state of Oregon

Upwards of 200 employees of Asante in southern Oregon have either resigned or lost their jobs after refusing to get vaccinated against Covid-19, a representative of the healthcare provider confirmed on Wednesday.

Earlier this week, Asante senior public relations specialist Lauren Van Sickle reiterated to NewsWatch 12 that 58 workers had resigned their positions, citing the Covid-19 vaccine mandate.

This was true when the deadline for vaccination arrived on October 18. At that time, nearly 500 Asante employees had received a religious or medical exception to vaccination.

However, Asante’s policy regarding the state’s vaccine mandate was that all workers within a medical facility be vaccinated — meaning that all those who were unvaccinated as of October 18, including those with exceptions, were either set up with remote work or placed on unpaid administrative leave.

Under Asante’s policy, workers who still had not been vaccinated as of October 31, exception or otherwise, could have their employment terminated.

Unlike Klamath County, , the surge of Covid-19 patients has significantly diminished in the Rogue Valley.   As of Tuesday, there were 48 coronavirus patients between Asante’s facilities, 11 of them in intensive care and three on ventilators.

Another rural, conservative county in Oregon has expressed interest in becoming part of Idaho.

A new media report shows voters in Harney County on Tuesday approved a ballot measure which requires local officials to hold meetings about moving the county into Idaho. The measure passed with more than 63% of the vote. The unofficial results were: 1,567 for and 917 against.

Harney became the eighth of Oregon’s 36 counties to vote for considering adjusting Oregon’s border to put much of rural eastern and southern Oregon in Idaho. These ballot initiatives are non-binding; the point of them, McCarter says, is to force Idaho’s and Oregon’s legislatures to take up the issue, which is highly unlikely. If Idaho and Oregon were to negotiate a border adjustment, the U.S. Congress would have to sign off on it.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) on Nov. 1 announced it is approving the allocation of more than $422 million to Oregon in supplemental disaster assistance for housing recovery.

The allocation for Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery and Mitigation a first for Oregon, will address long-term unmet recovery needs from the 2020 Labor Day wildfires.

The federal funding is part of $5 billion that Congress appropriated for disaster relief last month. 

CDBG-DR program funds are used to help those most impacted, especially low-income residents needing housing recovery assistance, to recover from presidentially declared disasters. CDBG-MIT funds are used to assess risks in affected communities and help make them more resilient to current and future risks.

While the announcement reveals how much Oregon will get in these supplemental recovery grants, the state must still complete several tasks before it actually receives the money. The state still needs to wait for HUD to publish the Federal Register, which will outline the process and the timeline to satisfy HUD requirements to receive the funds.

The state also will need to conduct an Unmet and Needs Assessment and develop an Action Plan that identifies how the state will use CDBG-DR and CDBG-MIT funds to address unmet disaster recovery and mitigation needs. 

Oregon’s second most populous county has passed the state’s first ban on flavored tobacco products.

Oregon Public Broadcasting reports the Board of County Commissioners in Washington County voted 3 to 2 Tuesday to prohibit retail sales of any flavored tobacco products, including menthol cigarettes and vape pens.

Ordinance 878 was created based on findings that indicate tobacco use by young people continues to be a significant health risk.

The board’s action prohibits the sale of any tobacco or synthetic nicotine product to anyone under 21; prohibit sales of any flavored tobacco or synthetic nicotine product in any retail establishment; and prohibit coupons, discounts and price promotions for any tobacco products.

At Tuesday’s board meeting in Washington County, most public comment was against the ban. Commissioner Jerry Willey, who voted against the ban, worried about the financial impact to locally owned stores

Police arrested a Grants Pass woman on Friday in connection with a fatal crash that occurred back in July, the result of a months-long investigation.

According to Grants Pass Police, officers and firefighters responded to a single-vehicle crash in the 300-block of SW L Street on July 2 of this year.

Upon arrival, officers found an “extensive crash scene” with an SUV on its side and a man pinned under the vehicle. Firefighters and medical personnel from AMR arrived and used special equipment to extract the man from under the vehicle, but he did not survive the ordeal.

Court documents identify him as Nathaniel Vincente Contreras Jr. In the wake of the crash, detectives and a GPPD crash reconstructionist worked closely with Oregon State Police to continue the investigation and conduct a forensic examination of the SUV. The case was then referred to the District Attorney’s office for charges.

Richardson was lodged in jail on charges for Manslaughter in the Second Degree, Reckless Driving, Driving Under the Influence of Intoxicants and Criminal Mischief in the Second Degree.

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