Rogue Valley News, Tuesday, 6/23 – Southern Oregon Nursing Homes Will Test Staff Employees for Covid-19

The latest news stories and stories of interest in the Rogue Valley and around the state of Oregon from the online digital home of the valley, RogueValleyMagazine.com

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Rogue Valley Weather

The state of Oregon is reporting 146 new confirmed and presumptive COVID-19 cases, and 2 new deaths.

COVID-19 has claimed two more lives in Oregon, raising the state’s death toll to 192, the Oregon Health Authority reported this morning.

Oregon Health Authority reported 146 new confirmed and presumptive cases of COVID-19 as of this morning, bringing the state total to 7,083.

The new confirmed and presumptive COVID-19 cases reported today are in the following counties: Benton (2), Clackamas (15), Deschutes (4), Douglas (1), Hood River (1), Jackson (1), Jefferson (1), Lane (4), Lincoln (6), Marion (47), Morrow (1), Multnomah (17), Umatilla (11), Union (5), Wasco (1), Washington (27), and Yamhill (2).

Starting this week, southern Oregon nursing homes must test their staff for coronavirus.  New Oregon health regulations will also require that testing be offered to residents of all assisted living homes.

“COVID-19 has been an adventure in relearning everything in senior living,” said Ashley, executive director at Weatherly Inn.

Assisted living retirement homes are facing new everyday challenges to prevent the virus from spreading within the homes.

“The moment they walk out their apartment door to the moment they go back in for bed for the night, it can’t be the same,” Ashley said.

New testing is now underway to help staff find the virus on surfaces and prevent it from spreading.

They have been doing surface testing at Springs at Veranda Park, according to officials there.

Wearing a mask and keeping a distance of six feet between residents are just a few of the many small safety precautions that people in assisted living homes must follow to prevent the virus from spreading and harming others.

To formalize testing measures, new state regulations become effective on Wednesday — require staff testing for all assisted living homes, along with offering coronavirus tests to residents.

“Just this week, we have been working on and sending out to our communities our policies and procedures around the testing that’s based on what we were given by the Oregon Health Authority and NDHS,” said Amira, education and program leader for Compass of Pear Valley.

Now all southern Oregon assisted living homes are preparing for the coronavirus testing regimen required by those new Oregon Health Authority regulations.

The Grants Pass Department of Public Safety is proud to announce another way to serve the citizens of Grants Pass: the GPDPS Online Reporting System.

Starting this week you now have the option of filing a report online instead of completing it in person or over the phone. This service is available for the following types of incidents: Lost Property, Failure to Leave Name at the Scene of an Accident (Hit & Run), Theft and Unauthorized Entry into a Motor Vehicle. 

The incident must have occurred within the city limits of Grants Pass in order to complete an online report. If the incident occurred in a different city or in the county, you will need to contact the law enforcement agency in that jurisdiction to file a report. If you have suspect information, you should call the non-emergency line at 541-450-6260 to make a report to an officer. 

To access the GPDPS Online Reporting System, click on the following link:
https://secure.coplogic.com/dors/startreport/300002943 

You can also access this system from our Facebook page or from the City of Grants Pass website (Public Safety page) under “Important Links”:
https://www.grantspassoregon.gov/188/Public-Safety

A logger was injured and needed rescue after a logging incident in remote forestland north of Wimer on Monday morning, according to the Rogue River Fire Department (RRFD).

The bulldozer operator was working at a Murphy Company logging site to cut a new road on the side of a mountain, on a 70 degree slope, when the driver became high-centered on a large stump — causing the bulldozer to roll and land on its side, RRFD said.

Loggers were working about nine miles up Ditch Creek Road near Daisy Mine Road “in rugged terrain” when the rollover happened. RRFD said that the driver was injured and couldn’t make it back up the hillside.

Crews from RRFD, Evans Valley Fire District, the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office, and the Murphy company worked together to form a “short haul team,” carrying the injured driver about one-fourth of a mile up the steep slope. RRFD then brought the driver down to an area where Mercy Flights landed a helicopter.

Mercy Flights airlifted the patient to Rogue Regional Medical Center for treatment. According to RRFD, the rescue took two hours to complete.

The Office of State Fire Marshal, the Oregon Fire Service, natural resource agencies, Oregon licensed fireworks wholesalers, and safety experts are asking Oregonians to “keep it legal and keep it safe” when using all fireworks.

The 2020 Oregon fireworks retail sales season opens June 23 and runs through July 6. The OSFM and its partners want everyone to know what fireworks are legal to use in Oregon without a permit, where they are allowed to be used, and how to use fireworks safely Residents who plan to visit public lands and parks for the July Fourth holiday are asked to leave all fireworks at home.

The use of fireworks is prohibited in national parks and forests, on Bureau of Land Management lands, on U.S. Fish and Wildlife properties, on state beaches, in state parks, and in state campgrounds. Oregon law prohibits the possession, use, or sale of any firework that flies into the air, explodes, or travels more than 12 feet horizontally on the ground, without a permit issued by the OSFM.

Fireworks commonly called bottle rockets, Roman candles, and firecrackers are illegal in Oregon, without a permit.

A second lawsuit has been filed against an Oregon ranch accused of causing millions of dollars in damages by negligently igniting a 2018 wildfire.

The federal government filed a complaint claiming that J-Spear Ranch of Paisley, Oregon, started the Watson Creek Fire in the Fremont-Winema National Forest, The Capital Press reported. A similar lawsuit was filed by a timber company last month. According to the federal government’s lawsuit, the fire claimed 59,000 acres, of which about 46,000 are administered by the U.S. Forest Service. The suit says it resulted in at least $14 million worth of losses in timber, habitat, water protection and environmental values, as well as fire suppression and rehabilitation costs.

The complaint alleges the fire was sparked in mid-August 2018 by a ranch employee on an all-terrain vehicle conducting maintenance on the Paradise Creek allotment, for which J-Spear Ranch is responsible. The ranch had not outfitted the vehicle with fire-suppression equipment or cleaned it to remove dried vegetation and other debris, as required by fire season rules for that area, the government claims.

Starting Wednesday, a new rule from Gov. Kate Brown will require people in Multnomah, Washington, Clackamas, Marion, Polk, Hood River and Lincoln counties to wear masks in indoor public spaces.

The rule is an attempt to stop the wave of new COVID-19 cases in Oregon, and will impact 55% of people who live in the state. If you plan to go to any indoor public place (including grocery stores) in the aforementioned counties, you need a mask. You can either buy one, or you can make your own.  Beware of online conspiracy theories about masks. Instead, listen to public health officials, like Dr. Paul Cieslak, senior health adviser to the Oregon Health Authority, who says Masks are recommended in situations where you encounter people outside of your immediate household members, because by wearing them, you could reduce the likelihood of transmitting COVID-19 if you are carrying it unknowingly.”

The search for a 20-year-old Washington County woman missing since December appears to be ending in tragedy.  

The Washington County Sheriff’s Office says search crews recovered the body of Allyson Watterson over the weekend in North Plains.  Police say a homeowner found the human remains while mowing an overgrown spot between their property and another property.  The remains have not yet been officially identified, but investigators say they’re confident they belong to Watterson.  Watterson was last seen on December 22nd with her boyfriend, Ben Garland.  Watterson’s mother says they were headed to a friend’s home when their car broke down and they got separated.

An adult in custody walked away Monday, June 22, 2020, from South Fork Forest Camp (SFFC) in Tillamook. Brandon Sykes walked away from a work crew near the summit of Highway 6 at approximately 11:35 a.m.

Brandon J. Sykes, 35, is a white male, 5 ft. 9 in., weighing 195 lbs. with green eyes and brown hair. Sykes was last seen wearing blue jeans with the word “inmate” stenciled on the knee in orange, a blue T-shirt, sweatshirt, and coat similarly stenciled.

Sykes entered DOC custody on June 13, 2016, on several counts of assault and kidnapping out of Columbia County. His earliest release date was October 18, 2021.

The Oregon Department of Corrections Fugitive Apprehension Unit and the Oregon State Police are investigating. Anyone with information regarding her whereabouts should contact the Oregon State Police at 1-800-452-7888, the non-emergency number of their local police department, or the Oregon Department of Corrections Fugitive Apprehension Unit at 503-569-0734.

SFFC is minimum-security work camp that houses approximately 200 adults in custody who are within four years of release. Part of SFFC’s mission is to supply a ready work force to combat forest or wild fires throughout the state. Crews provide critical support for statewide fire operations, recreation, and reforestation; as well as provide support for special projects such as sign making, metal fabrication, and tool or equipment repair. SFFC was established in 1951 and is a satellite facility to CRCI and managed jointly with the Oregon Department of Forestry. It is located approximately 28 miles east of Tillamook, just off of Highway 6 along the Wilson River in the Tillamook Forest.

The Office of State Fire Marshal, the Oregon Fire Service, natural resource agencies, Oregon licensed fireworks wholesalers, and safety experts are asking Oregonians to “keep it legal and keep it safe” when using all fireworks.

The 2020 Oregon fireworks retail sales season opens June 23 and runs through July 6. The OSFM and its partners want everyone to know what fireworks are legal to use in Oregon without a permit, where they are allowed to be used, and how to use fireworks safely Residents who plan to visit public lands and parks for the July Fourth holiday are asked to leave all fireworks at home.

The use of fireworks is prohibited in national parks and forests, on Bureau of Land Management lands, on U.S. Fish and Wildlife properties, on state beaches, in state parks, and in state campgrounds. Oregon law prohibits the possession, use, or sale of any firework that flies into the air, explodes, or travels more than 12 feet horizontally on the ground, without a permit issued by the OSFM.

Fireworks commonly called bottle rockets, Roman candles, and firecrackers are illegal in Oregon, without a permit.

A second lawsuit has been filed against an Oregon ranch accused of causing millions of dollars in damages by negligently igniting a 2018 wildfire.

The federal government filed a complaint claiming that J-Spear Ranch of Paisley, Oregon, started the Watson Creek Fire in the Fremont-Winema National Forest, The Capital Press reported. A similar lawsuit was filed by a timber company last month. According to the federal government’s lawsuit, the fire claimed 59,000 acres, of which about 46,000 are administered by the U.S. Forest Service. The suit says it resulted in at least $14 million worth of losses in timber, habitat, water protection and environmental values, as well as fire suppression and rehabilitation costs.

The latest State of Oregon Covid-19 News & Preparedness Information Here.

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