Klamath Basin News, Thursday, 2/10 – Sky Lakes Medical Center Still At Capacity with Hospitalized Covid Patients

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Thursday, February 10, 2022

Klamath Basin Weather

Today Sunny, with a high near 62. North wind around 5 mph. Overnight, clear with a low around 31. North wind 3 to 5 mph.

Friday Sunny, with a high near 62. Calm wind becoming north around 6 mph in the afternoon. Overnight low of 29.
Saturday Sunny, with a high near 61. Light and variable wind becoming southeast 5 to 7 mph in the afternoon.
Superbowl Sunday Mostly sunny, with a high near 62.
Monday A chance of rain between 10am and 1pm, then a chance of snow after 1pm. Snow level 5600 feet lowering to 4200 feet in the afternoon . Partly sunny, with a high near 47.
Tuesday Mostly sunny, with a high near 46.

Today’s Headlines

Oregon reports 3,309 new confirmed and presumptive COVID-19 cases, 57 new deaths

There are 57 new COVID-19-related deaths in Oregon, raising the state’s death toll to 6,322, the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) reported at 12:01 a.m. today. OHA reported 3,309 new confirmed and presumptive cases of COVID-19 as of 12:01 a.m. today, bringing the state total to 668,783.

The new confirmed and presumptive COVID-19 cases reported today are in the following counties: Baker (19), Benton (96), Clackamas (216), Clatsop (23), Columbia (41), Coos (75), Crook (31), Curry (43), Deschutes (180), Douglas (80), Grant (8), Harney (4), Hood River (20), Jackson (219), Jefferson (68), Josephine (98), Klamath (86), Lake (6), Lane (383), Lincoln (54), Linn (170), Malheur (27), Marion (316), Morrow (3), Multnomah (397), Polk (91), Sherman (4), Tillamook (16), Umatilla (46), Union (15), Wallowa (5), Wasco (21), Washington (372), Wheeler (19), Yamhill (57)

Despite numerous reports Covid-19 cases are on the decline, there are 86 new cases of Covid-19 in Klamath County. Sky Lakes Medical Center is at capacity with what could be the most patients they’ve had with Covid since the pandemic began.

A total of 37 patients are hospitalized locally with Covid- 23 of those are unvaccinated, 8 are vaccinated, and 6 are both vaccinated and have received at least one booster shot.

Their census is 106 not counting boarders in the emergency room. Their transmission rate and positive test numbers are starting to look better but don’t forget that today they are still in the extremely high risk level. Their resources are currently stretched thin and 37 is one of the highest, if not the highest, COVID-19 inpatient counts to date.  

Sky Lakes says they won’t begin to see the benefits of lower transmission rates and positive test results immediately. Right now they are still experiencing the consequences of a long period of high positive test rates and a steady transmission rate. It’s important that they continue to lower our transmission and case rates and not celebrate too soon.  

They ask to please use all the resources available to you to keep yourself, your loved ones and coworkers safe.

Around the state of Oregon, the COVID-19 hospitalization numbers are also entering a downward slope.

Hospitalizations reported Tuesday were 75 occupied beds short of the omicron peak so far, Jan. 27.

An Oregon Health & Science University forecast last week said hospitalizations either had already peaked or would do so Feb. 6. The burden on hospitals from the omicron surge has been far less severe than originally predicted, with experts attributing the difference to Oregonians’ efforts to prevent spread.

With the omicron surge on its way out, hospitals will be less likely to see big spikes in COVID-19 hospitalizations because of how many people have developed immunity to the disease, OHSU data analyst Peter Graven said last week in a statement.

The state also reported 21 additional deaths connected to COVID-19.

Klamath IDEA announced today that it will launch the 2022 season of IDEA Talks on March 16th after a two-year hiatus.

The event will feature a well-known entrepreneur, inventor and author, Jeff Kirkham.  The 2022 IDEA Talks season has been generously supported by the Klamath Community College Small Business Development Center, the City of Klamath Falls, Klamath County, the Oregon Community Foundation’s Thriving Entrepreneur’s Program, the Ford Family Foundation’s Growing Rural Oregon program, and through Oregon State Lottery Funds administered by OBDD.

The event will be held at The 9th Street Venue from 5:30-8:30 pm. Food, provided by Girasol Family Mexican Restaurant, and one non-alcoholic drink is included in the $40 per person ticket. A no-host bar will be available. Doors open at 5:30 p.m. for networking and the Talk will start at 6:15 p.m.

Attendance will be limited to 140 and tickets must be purchased in advance at Facebook.com/KlamathIDEA or at KlamathIDEA.org on their calendar page.

Once attracting millions of birds at a time during the mid-20th Century, the Klamath Basin’s “Everglades of the West” have made it a Mecca for birders. But after two years of intense drought, most of the watershed’s iconic wetlands are high and dry. Now the Winter Wings Festival, which typically celebrates the Klamath’s avian bounty each February, is making a bit of a pivot.

Previous years’ Winter Wings Festivals, presented by the Klamath Basin Audubon Society, have always included birding field trips to Lower Klamath and Tule Lake National Wildlife Refuges, which are all that’s left of hundreds of thousands of acres of wetlands that once filled the Upper Klamath Basin. The refuges were renowned for their variety of migratory bird species, particularly waterfowl and bald eagles, due to their crucial position on the Pacific Flyway. As many as 80% of all migrating birds on the West Coast of North America stop here to rest and eat on their journeys between the Arctic and the tropics.

This winter, only a few thousand acres on Tule Lake Refuge’s Sump 1B remain wet — the refuge’s larger wetland unit and all but a few puddles worth of Lower Klamath Refuge sit dry and cracked. There are still birds, but Winter Wings attendees visiting the basin for the first time since 2020 may be in for a shock.

Around the state of Oregon

A Bend man died Tuesday after he crashed his motorcycle on Highway 31 in Lake County.

According to Oregon State Police Trustin Hudson, 39, failed was driving his Harley Davidson northbound when he failed to negotiate the corner, went off the roadway and struck a tree about 4:45 p.m. Tuesday. Hudson died at the scene, according to police. OSP was assisted by the Lake County Sheriff’s Office and the Oregon Department of Transportation.

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The Josephine County Sheriff’s Office says that two men were found dead after an inexplicable shooting incident that happened at a home in the Sunny Valley area Tuesday morning.

Just before 7 a.m. that morning, dispatch received a 911 call reporting a shooting in the 2000-block of Placer Road. The caller said that he’d accidentally shot his brother while loading a gun “because there was a bear on their property.”

When deputies arrived at the address, they soon found one man dead from a visible gunshot wound. After searching the house, they found a second man dead from what appeared to be a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Sheriff’s Office detectives were assisted in the investigation by Oregon State Police.

Body Found in Hillsboro Business Building Fire Debris

A man’s body was found this week among the debris from the Weil Arcade building fire in downtown Hillsboro that destroyed dozens of businesses. This discovery comes more than a month after the historic building was destroyed on January 2nd. 

According to Hillsboro Police, the man, who has not been identified, died from smoke inhalation. Investigators don’t believe he was connected to any businesses in the building. 

Investigators said the delay in finding the body was due to safety concerns with the building.

“It was unsafe for a couple reasons. The fire was still burning for a number of days,” Sergeant Clint Chrz with Hillsboro Police, said. “The front side facade of the businesses that faces main street, we were concerned that portion was unstable, and it would either fall back into the burned-out debris or fall into the sidewalk or street. So, that prevented anybody, police investigators, fire investigators, ATF investigators, from going in there.”

Police said they don’t believe there are any more victims. 

Roel Leon, 34, is accused of starting the Jan. 2 fire, as well as starting torching two nearby vehicles the same night. She’s also accused of a burglary in downtown Hillsboro that happened Dec. 2nd. 

Leon was arrested a few days after the Weil Arcade fire and booked into the Washington County Jail on two counts of second-degree arson and two counts of second-degree burglary. Hillsboro Police will send updates on the body found to the Washington County District Attorney’s Office to determine whether charges will be upgraded. 

The fire started around 3 a.m. Jan. 2 and ripped through a building that’s been a Main Street staple for over 100 years. It took more than 12 hours and over 90 firefighters to extinguish the flames. More than a dozen businesses were destroyed.

Three Woman Killed in Fatal Crash With Log Truck Near Monroe

Three Junction City women were killed in a crash on Highway 99 West near McFarland Road Tuesday afternoon.

The Benton County Sheriff’s Office said deputies responded to the crash at about 2:15 p.m. It happened about four miles north of Monroe.

An unloaded Kenworth log truck was traveling north on the highway when a southbound 2008 Honda Civic went into the northbound lane, crashing head-on with the log truck, authorities said. It’s not known what caused the driver to change lanes.

All three people inside the Honda were pronounced dead at the scene, including driver Shelene Parrish, 49, her passenger Laynette Taylor, 51, and Laynette’s daughter Brittany Taylor, 31.

The driver of the log truck, a Tillamook resident, was not injured and is cooperating with the investigation. Both lanes of the highway were closed while crews investigated, and the roadway was back open by 7 p.m. that night. The investigation is ongoing, and anyone with information should contact deputies at 541-766-6858.

Oregon lawmakers were briefed Wednesday on the state’s quarterly revenue forecast, and the outlook again went beyond earlier expectations.

Even with Oregonians expected to receive a kicker refund of about $964 million in 2024, lawmakers on both sides of the aisle quickly identified opportunities for spending more than $900 million in additional revenue. But for many Oregonians still reeling from the COVID-19 pandemic or destructive wildfires, the bird’s-eye economic analysis may not resemble their personal experience. The report pointed to overall rising wages and a tight labor market, with workers in high demand — and the higher wages mean more tax income for the state.

For lawmakers, the growth in revenue means a larger budget to work with. While Democrats and Republicans agreed on the need for new spending, they had different ideas on where that money should go.

As The CDC is pleading with states not to drop school mask mandates. Director Rochelle Walensky says now is not the moment.

She told the news agency Reuters their guidance hasn’t changed and still recommends students mask up due to the high rate of new infections. This comes as Connecticut, Delaware, New Jersey and Oregon plan to end their school mask mandates.

California will also stop its indoor mandate next week and New York will reportedly do the same tomorrow, but not just yet for schools.

Oregon is reporting it had the most people ever covered by health insurance last year. The rate increased from 94-percent in 2019 to 95-point-four percent last year.

The Oregon Health Authority says the gains were driven by pandemic rule changes for Medicaid that allowed people to keep their coverage. The largest coverage gains were among low-income adults as far fewer people reported being uninsured due to loss of Medicaid coverage.

Search Warrant Executed at Illegal Marijuana Operation in Murphy

INCIDENT DATE:  February 8, 2022

On Tuesday, February 8, 2022, members of the Josephine Marijuana Enforcement Team (JMET) executed a search warrant relating to an illegal marijuana grow operation in the 7000 block of Williams Hwy, Grants Pass, OR. 

During the execution of the search warrant, 6,522 illegal marijuana plants were seized and destroyed. 

One subject was detained due to safety concerns. At the time of this press release, no arrests have been made and the investigation is ongoing. No further details are being released at this time. Josephine Co. Sheriff’s Office

Oregon Community Foundation to Deploy Nearly $1.46 Million in American Red Cross Relief for Fire Impacted Communities in Oregon

The Community Rebuilding Fund, a joint effort led by Oregon Community Foundation in partnership with American Red Cross (as well as Meyer Memorial Trust and The Ford Family Foundation), today announced $1,455,000 in Community Rebuilding Fund grants made possible through American Red Cross funding.  

The grants will support seven nonprofit organizations providing vital help to Oregon communities continuing to rebuild from the 2020 fires.  The 2020 Community Rebuilding Fund launched in response to Oregon’s devastating 2020 wildfire season which forever changed many of Oregon’s vibrant rural communities.

Recognizing equitable, inclusive and resiliency-based rebuilding is essential, the 2020 Community Rebuilding Fund centers the needs of Oregon’s vulnerable residents most impacted – including Latino/a/x, Tribal and rural community members. The Fund supports community-led rebuilding that engages residents in shaping the future of the diverse and dynamic places they call home.

The 2020 Community Rebuilding Fund is led by Oregon Community Foundation, in partnership with Meyer Memorial Trust, The Ford Family Foundation and American Red Cross and in addition to each partner, is primarily funded through individual, corporate and foundation support.

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