Klamath Basin News, Tuesday, 1/11 – Oregon Covid Cases Skyrocketing Across the State; 18,538 New Confirmed and Presumptive Cases In Just Days

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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.

Tuesday, January 11, 2022

Klamath Basin Weather

Today Partly sunny, with a high near 44. Calm wind. Patchy fog overnight otherwise, mostly cloudy, with a low around 30.

Wednesday Partly sunny, with a high near 46.
Thursday Mostly sunny, with a high near 45.
Friday Mostly sunny, with a high near 42.
Saturday Mostly sunny, with a high near 43.

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Today’s Headlines

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COVID-19 Cases Skyrocketing in Oregon

There are 18 new COVID-19 related deaths in Oregon, raising the state’s death toll to 5,779, Oregon Health Authority (OHA) reported today. OHA reported 18,538 new confirmed and presumptive cases of COVID-19 today, bringing the state total to 478,203.

The new confirmed and presumptive COVID-19 cases reported today are in the following counties: Baker (28), Benton (600), Clackamas (1926), Clatsop (95), Columbia (146), Coos (214), Crook (73), Curry (91), Deschutes (1337), Douglas (136), Grant (8), Harney (5), Hood River (86), Jackson (898), Jefferson (181), Josephine (202), Klamath (84), Lake (1), Lane (1367), Lincoln (67), Linn (448), Malheur (33), Marion (1366), Morrow (46), Multnomah (4393), Polk (267), Sherman (1), Tillamook (53), Umatilla (214), Union (102), Wallowa (10), Wasco (25), Washington (3781) and Yamhill (254).

The number of hospitalized patients with COVID-19 across Oregon is 692, which is 33 more than yesterday. There are 138 COVID-19 patients in intensive care unit (ICU) beds, which is 11 more than yesterday. Locally Klamath County reported 84 new cases, Lakeview just 1 and Jackson County reported a whopping 898 new cases.

Daily testing numbers reach near an all time high

COVID-19 testing is in high demand, and OHA is recording a high volume of tests being performed. The number of COVID-19 tests reported for Jan. 7, at 51,996, is the third highest single daily count reported statewide during the pandemic.

For anyone who has symptoms of COVID-19, you should get tested regardless of your vaccination status.  You should stay home and away from others while you wait for the results of your COVID-19 test. If you have been exposed to someone with COVID-19, you should also seek testing regardless of vaccination status. Fully vaccinated people should be tested five to seven days after their last exposure. People who are not fully vaccinated should get tested when they find out they are a close contact. If their test result is negative, they should get tested again five to seven days after their last exposure or immediately if symptoms develop. Learn more here.

A new business is hoping to the hit the target in Klamath Falls. The Hatchet Haus, located at 3380 Washburn Way, opened to the public on Saturday.

Owner Patrick Schacht said he hopes the operation brings a jolt into the Klamath economy and the city’s lightlife.

Schacht, who grew up in Florida but now lives in Klamath Falls, said the Hatchet Haus will be a flexible operation. It will be able to transform from family-friendly axe throwing during the day to an adults-only bar, restaurant, music venue, a corporate meeting space and more. The central conceit, however, is the axes. The location will also include “selfie stations,” where people can pose for photos, a giant chalk wall, a speakeasy that only members can gain access to, and more.

The business has its own app, which will enable customers to find QR codes for coupons, free drinks and more. They will have giant games of jenga, chess and more. Schacht said they will start with four employees, but noted they hope to increase to 15 or so once they are fully operational.

The Conquer Covid in Klamath campaign announces its Grand Prize winner as well as its Runner Up prize winners.

Traci Reed of Klamath Falls was the Grand Prize winner of her choice of a new Dodge Ram Truck or new Dodge Durango SUV.

Leticia McGonigle of Midland was the first runner up and won a new Hot Tub. Douglas Anderson of Klamath Falls was the second runner up and won $5,000 toward a dream vacation. Essie Krueger of Klamath Falls was the third runner up and won $3,000

The Conquer Covid in Klamath Campaign has now officially ended and we would like to thank everyone that entered. Covid vaccine clinics continue to offer the Covid vaccine at no charge to area residents.

Log on to Klamath County Public Health for a list of available locations.

A remote town hall scheduled for Tuesday by U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) has been delayed and will instead be held Tuesday, Feb. 1.

According to Merkley, the rescheduled event is due to a “sudden change in his schedule.” According to Merkley, will update constituents on his work, answer questions and invite suggestions about how to tackle the challenges facing Oregon and America. The remote and telephone event will begin at 4:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 1.

Around the state of Oregon

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Mercy Flights announced on Monday that it will add a new helicopter to its Southern Oregon fleet in order to meet the growing need for medical transport in the region. The new Bell 407 GXi aircraft is scheduled arrive at Mercy Flights headquarters in Medfo

rd during the second week of January, and will likely begin transporting patients by the beginning of February, pending Federal Aviation Administration approval Sheila Clough, Mercy Flights CEO, said the decision to add a new helicopter to the Mercy Flights fleet came from an extensive assessment of community needs, including input from the flight team, healthcare systems, and community partners. Mercy Flights also received access to a special non-profit financing option from the Oregon Facilities Authority.

Helicopters are ideal for responses in predominantly rural areas like Southern Oregon, Clough continued. In honor of Mercy Flights founder George Milligan, Clough teamed up with Pirkko Terao — current board member and Milligan’s granddaughter — and her family to select tail number N973MF, referencing Millgan’s year of retirement.

There has been a recall of over 28,000 pounds of ground beef products that may be contaminated with E. coli, the U.S. Department of has announced. The recall applied to beef sold at Walmart, Kroger, WinCo Foods and Albertson’s grocers, shipped to retail locations in Utah, Arizona, California, Nevada, Oregon, Washington and Wyoming.

Organization officials labeled the recall as class I, making it a “high or medium risk” health hazard with “reasonable probability” that use of the product will result in health consequences.

USDA officials said symptoms of consuming E. coli include dehydration, bloody diarrhea and abdominal cramps 2–8 days (3–4 days, on average) after exposure to the organism. They said anyone who experiences these symptoms should seek emergency medical care immediately.

Interstate Meat Dist. Inc., a Clackamas, Ore., establishment, is the company recalling the raw ground beef after packaged product was purchased and submitted to a third-party lab for testing, and the sample tested positive for E. coli. The recalled beef products were produced on Dec. 20, 2021.

Meanwhile, Dole is recalling some of its bagged salads, including salad greens distributed in Oregon and Washington, due to concerns over listeria contamination.

The voluntary recall includes Dole-branded and private-label salads processed at its Soledad, California, site and containing iceberg lettuce, the Food and Drug Administration notice said. Products subject to the voluntary recall from the Soledad facility are identified by a product lot code beginning with the letter “B” and a “Best if Used By” date between Dec. 23, 2021, and Jan. 8, 2022. The product lot codes are located in the upper-right-hand corner of the package. (Dole also recalled salads and salad mixes from its Springfield, Ohio, facility but those were not distributed in Oregon or Washington, as the Soledad products were.).

An increasing number of schools around Portland are returning to remote learning, because of COVID-19.

Portland has three high schools going to distance learning this week: Cleveland, Roosevelt and McDaniel. The entire Parkrose School District is closed today due to staffing shortages. In the Tigard-Tualatin District, Durham Elementary is returning to remote learning.

Controversy Over Grants Pass Downs/Dutch Bros Gambling Expansion

The state’s last commercial horse track wants to open a large betting facility. Oregon’s tribes want to put any gambling expansion on hold.

The operators of Grants Pass Downs and the Flying Lark, an adjacent gambling, dining and drinking establishment, [on Monday] notified the state that it will lay off 226 workers at the end of February—if the Oregon Racing Commission fails to approve its application to install 225 betting machines.

“We are waiting for authorization to open from the Oregon Racing Commission,” wrote Flying Lark chief administrative officer Katy Burris in a notice to the state. “We expected to have a decision by December, but recently learned that now the Department of Justice must issue a decision before the Oregon Racing Commission will determine whether we can open and the Department of Justice is delaying its decision.”

Oregon’s nine tribes, which depend heavily on casino gambling, asked lawmakers in the 2021 session to pause any expansion of the Oregon Lottery or other legal gambling in the state and to bring all stakeholders together for a discussion of what should happen with betting in the future.

A bill that would have formed such a task force stalled, and the Oregon Racing Commission moved toward approving the Flying Lark’s request to install 225 “historical horse racing” machines.

Those devices are controversial. The Flying Lark, which is owned by Dutch Bros. Coffee CEO Travis Boersma, argues that state law allows the machines at commercial horse tracks.

The now-defunct Portland Meadows deployed such machines, which allowed gamblers to bet on races that had previously been run at other tracks but for which bettors did not know the results.

But researchers hired by the Cow Creek Band of Umpqua Tribe of Indians say that the newer-generation machines the Flying Lark proposes to install are similar to video slot machines. The Oregon Racing Commission, whose members are appointed by Gov. Kate Brown, hoped to take up the issue of whether to approve the Flying Lark’s application last year. But in response to tribal concerns, Brown told the commission it needed to consult with the tribes, which are sovereign governments.

In the meantime, the tribes are pushing for legislation in the even-year session that begins Feb. 1 for lawmakers to order a pause on any gambling expansion. It’s not clear whether such legislation will pass, but in notifying the state of the consequences—226 layoffs—the Flying Lark has upped the ante.

“We never anticipated the commission’s delay on our approval,” Burris said in her letter to state officials.

Safety is vital to every transportation program and project – and a key part of the Oregon Department of Transportation’s Strategic Action Plan. Much of the estimated $1.2 billion in additional transportation funding on its way to Oregon from the recently passed federal Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act will focus on safety.

This new funding will reinforce existing efforts and add new ones to improve safety for all of us as we travel around our communities and our state – whether we are walking, biking, driving or taking public transit. The act reinforces existing federal transportation safety programs and introduces two more urgent safety needs:

  • One is to prevent death and injury from crashes involving motor vehicles striking other vehicles and individuals stopped at the roadside – this aligns with Oregon’s “Move over” law and other efforts to improve the safety of our emergency responders on the roads.
  • The other is to educate the public on law enforcement practices during traffic stops and to train law enforcement on improving the safety of interactions with the public during traffic stops. This includes reducing racial profiling in traffic stops and aligns with ODOT’s goal of improving equity in Oregon’s transportation system.

Much of the additional funds for safety will support our All Roads Transportation Safety program, which uses data and national research to select the best projects that will effectively reduce the most fatal and serious injury crashes on all roads in Oregon.

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Oregon State Police has opened a poaching investigation in Grants Pass after several geese and ducks were apparently shot and left to waste in parks within the city.

On January 6, Grants Pass Parks & Recreation contacted OSP to report that a dead goose had been found inside a suitcase at Riverside Park.

This was not the first such incident, the agency said — in previous episodes, both geese and ducks had been found shot and discarded in a garbage bags at Riverside Park and Baker Park. All of the birds had been left to waste, OSP said.

OSP has asked anyone with information regarding this case to call the Oregon State Police Tip-line at 1-800-452-7888, *OSP (*677), or email at TIP@state.or.us. Reference case #SP22004647.

The Oregon Hunters Association TIP reward offers preference points or cash rewards for information leading to an arrest or issuance of a citation for the unlawful take/possession or waste of many animals, including birds. The reward for useful tips on upland bird and waterfowl poaching is $100.

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