Rogue Valley News, Thursday, Sept. 3 – OHA With Safety Precautions for Labor Day Weekend; Wear a Mask, Protect Family and Friends

Thursday, September 3, 2020

Rogue Valley Weather

Today  Widespread haze before 2pm. Patchy smoke after 2pm. Sunny and hot, with a high near 104.

Friday  Patchy smoke. Sunny and hot, with a high near 101.

Saturday  Sunny and hot, with a high near 102.

Sunday  Sunny and hot, with a high near 104.

Labor Day Monday  Sunny and hot, with a high near 106.

Tuesday  Sunny and hot, with a high near 107.

Today’s Headlines

Oregon reports 140 new confirmed and presumptive COVID-19 cases, 3 new deaths

COVID-19 has claimed three more lives in Oregon, raising the state’s death toll to 468, the Oregon Health Authority reported today.   Oregon Health Authority reported 140 new confirmed and presumptive cases of COVID-19 as of 12:01 a.m. today, bringing the state total to 27,075.

The new cases are in the following counties: Baker (1), Clackamas (4), Coos (2), Curry (1), Deschutes (1), Douglas (1), Jackson (14), Josephine (3), Lane (11), Lincoln (1), Linn (1), Malheur (8), Marion (19), Morrow (1), Multnomah (32), Polk (7), Sherman (1), Umatilla (13), Wallowa (1), Wasco (1), Washington (16) and Yamhill (1).

Jackson County Public Health reported on Wednesday that a third person in the county has died due to coronavirus. 

The patient was a 73-year-old man who tested positive on August 14 and died on Saturday, August 29, at Asante Rogue Regional Medical Center. The man had underlying medical conditions — though, as has been the usual for Oregon public health reports on COVID-19 deaths, those conditions were not specified. The last Jackson County death attributed to COVID-19, an 80-year-old man, happened on August 6, also at Asante Rogue Regional. 

Jackson County Public Health also reported 14 new cases of the virus on Wednesday, bringing the county total to 835. At least 168 of those cases are still considered “active infectious.” Josephine and Klamath counties remain with two deaths each since the pandemic began.

Josephine County reports three new cases of COVID-19

Three new cases of COVID-19 have been identified in Josephine County, bringing the county’s total number of cases to 163.

Public Health officials were notified of the cases by the official medical record system provided by the Oregon Health Authority.

Josephine County Public Health is investigating all cases to identify contacts and exposures and to isolate and monitor all individuals relevant to the cases. Public Health will reach out to anyone suspected of exposure to COVID-19.

Of the 163 total cases, 27 are currently presumptive and 136 are confirmed. As of 10:30 a.m. Sept. 3, Public Health is actively monitoring 14 cases, with the remaining patients considered no longer infectious. No further details about these cases will be released at this time.

Labor Day weekend is normally a time of celebrations, reunions and family vacations. This year, though, it’s important to reconsider the activities you engage in with friends and family.

We’ve seen the number of people infected with COVID-19 spike after Memorial Day and Fourth of July holidays. To keep our communities healthy and to be able to reopen schools statewide, we need to avoid that happening this holiday weekend.

This means staying close to home, spending time with members of our household, avoiding crowds, and following public health guidance.

While thinking about how to celebrate the end of this unusual summer, it’s a good idea to get clear with family and friends about what activities you are comfortable doing. Here are some ways to discuss your approach when someone asks you to attend a gathering:

  • Share how you feel. What are your thoughts about the current protections? What fears do you wish your loved ones would understand?
  • Share information. For example, if you feel pressured to join an activity because your family or friends think you are unlikely to catch the virus, you can explain that you do not want to potentially spread the virus.

The American Automobile Association says gas prices are at the lowest in four years. The average price per gallon for Oregon is steady at $2.67, last year it was $3.05.

This comes just in time for the Labor Day weekend.  AAA says with Covid-19 precautions and travel restrictions in place, more people reluctant to fly and are choosing to travel by car. In fact, according to AAA 97% of people are making the choice to drive than use any other means of transportation.  They advise that lodging and attractions should be booked in advance. Travel restrictions and advisories need to be researched as well. AAA says tourists should make sure the place they want to visit is open and welcoming visitors. The national average of gas prices per gallon rose about five cents to $2.23 per gallon. Prices across the board are expected to drop as the fall season approaches, but other major storms, like hurricanes, do have the potential to cause an increase in prices even in the Oregon area.

Around the state of Oregon

OSP Troopers say on Wednesday September 2, in the 4pm hour, emergency personnel responded to a two vehicle crash on Hwy 140 near the intersection of Hwy 62.

Preliminary investigation revealed that a Chevrolet Silverado, operated by Daniel Mejia (21) of White City, was eastbound when it crossed into the westbound lane and struck a Chevrolet Lumina, operated by Sheila Johnson (64) of Eagle Point.

Johnson sustained fatal injuries and was pronounced deceased. Hwy 140 was closed for approximately 3 hours following the crash.

A Utah man was killed Tuesday morning when his SUV crashed in rural Lake County. Robert Beers, 51, of Tooele, Utah, was pronounced dead at the scene. 

Investigators believe Beers was driving eastbound on Highway 140 east of Adel about 11 a.m. when his Dodge Durango “left the roadway and rolled multiple times” Oregon State Police Troopers, Lake County Sheriff’s Office, emergency personnel and ODOT responded to the scene.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Forest Service will begin gathering 500 wild horses from the Devil’s Garden Plateau Wild Horse Territory on Sept. 8 to continue moving toward the appropriate management level prescribed by the 2013 Devil’s Garden Plateau Wild Horse Territory Management Plan, according to a news release. 

Reducing overpopulation helps address unsustainable impacts on aquatic resources, wildlife, hunting, grazing and other traditional cultural practices. The Modoc National Forest has contracted Cattoor Livestock Roundups to conduct the gather. Due to the confined nature of viewing blinds, viewing of gather operations will be offered for two stakeholders a day on a first-come-first-served basis. Call 530-233-8738 to make an appointment. Viewers with reservations should arrive at 225 W. Eighth St. in Alturas by 7 a.m., follow forest personnel to the parking location and remain on-site until activities are complete for the day. Please bring water, lunch, wear neutral-colored clothing and prepare for changing weather.

Oregon State University Extension offices are offering canning preserve assistance in September while local harvest of produce is plentiful, according to an OSU Extension news release. Aid in pickling, canning, freezing and drying of foods will be offered, with a hotline available Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day until Oct. 9 at 1-800-354-7319, Additionally Bi-Mart, in partnership with OSU Extension, is displaying tips in the food preservation aisle complete with a QR code that, when scanned with a smartphone, takes customers to OSU Extension’s Home Food Safety and Preservation website with additional information.

Oregon has recorded 22 deaths involving boats this year, the most since 1993 and nearing the record of 25. 

August was a particularly bad month, with eight fatal accidents; the most recent came last weekend when a man charged with boating under the influence slammed into a 13-year-old swimmer at Henry Hagg Lake. The numbers include both motorized and non-motorized boats, such as kayaks, but don’t include fatal accidents using inner tubes or swimming, though both are also higher than normal this summer, said Randy Henry, boating safety program manager for the Oregon State Marine Board. The spike is another result of the record number of people outdoors in a summer when COVID-19 has limited most other options. It has also meant more first-time boaters, Henry said, and a lot of inexperience on the water.

Several Oregon state agencies and organizations are working to launch a new “Suicide Prevention and Wellness Program” for each school district in the state, the result of legislation passed by lawmakers in 2019. 

The Oregon Health Authority and Oregon Department of Education jointly heralded the new venture on Tuesday, part of a collaboration with the Lines for Life organization and local suicide prevention groups. As part of the program, Lines for Life plans to hire four regional school suicide prevention and wellness coordinators across the state, tasked with working alongside local schools districts and suicide prevention groups to support students and their families. The program stems from “Adi’s Act,” a bill passed last year. The bill was named after Adi Staub, a young transgender woman in Oregon who died by suicide in 2017. The group Basic Rights Oregon worked with Staub’s family to develop the bill, which requires each school district in Oregon to adopt a suicide prevention, intervention, and postvention response policy and plan.

The weakened Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler has moved out of his million dollar condo in downtown Portland and looking for a new place to live after his Pearl District condo building has been the site of repeated demonstrations and chaos, including on Monday when crowds demanded he resign and some people set fires and broke windows.

In an email Tuesday from Wheeler to other residents of the 16-floor high-rise tower, the mayor said it would be “best for me and for everyone else’s safety and peace” that he finds a new home. He assured people that police are taking their safety concerns seriously and invited them to a Thursday evening meeting that will include himself and officers to voice their concerns. The building has 114 units and retail space on the bottom floor. Wheeler bought his two-bedroom condo for $840,000 in 2017, according to Multnomah County property records. Protests calling for policing and social justice reforms have taken place daily throughout the city since late May.

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