The latest news stories and stories of interest in the Rogue Valley from the digital home of Southern Oregon, from Wynne Broadcasting and RogueValleyMagazine.com
Monday, November 23, 2020
Rogue Valley Weather
Monday A chance of rain before 8am, then a chance of showers, mainly between 8am and 11am. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 49. Calm wind. Chance of precipitation is 30%. Overnight, cloudy with a low around 32.
Tuesday Increasing clouds, with a high near 56. Calm wind.
Wednesday A 30 percent chance of showers. Snow level 3500 feet. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 48.
Thursday, Thanksgiving Day Areas of fog before noon. Otherwise, partly sunny, with a high near 50. Expect fog overnight with a low around 28.
Friday Patchy fog before 10am. Otherwise, mostly sunny, with a high near 44.
Saturday Areas of fog. Otherwise, partly sunny, with a high near 45.
For the third straight day, the Oregon Health Authority reported a record-breaking high — 1,517 — of new confirmed and presumptive cases of COVID-19 in Oregon, bringing the state total to 65,170.
COVID-19 has claimed one more life in Oregon on Sunday, raising the state’s death toll to 820, OHA reported yesterday.
The new confirmed and presumptive COVID-19 cases reported today are in the following counties: Benton (7), Clackamas (207), Clatsop (7), Columbia (8), Coos (9), Crook (6), Deschutes (38), Douglas (12), Grant (15), Hood River (6), Jackson (55), Jefferson (8), Josephine (42), Klamath (53), Lake (6), Lane (64), Lincoln (1), Linn (27), Malheur (16), Marion (183), Morrow (7), Multnomah (516), Polk (26), Umatilla (47), Union (5), Wasco (11), Washington (128), and Yamhill (35).
Among the seven new deaths reported Saturday, all were in their 70s or 80s, and either had or were suspected of having underlying health conditions. The state has had a surge in daily cases and hospitalizations since the start of November and health officials have warned that Oregonians are “dying at a faster rate” as cases surge.
Jackson County Public Health reports 55 new COVID-19 cases.
A previously reported case has been removed from the total case numbers. These updates bring the total reported COVID-19 cases in Jackson County to 3,357.
According to Public Health officials, there are 634 active cases within Jackson county.
Four more deaths have been recorded in Jackson County bringing the number of COVID-19 related fatalities stemming from Southern Oregon care home outbreaks to 14, including nine coronavirus deaths of assisted living patients recorded just in the past few days.
There are 332 COVID-19 cases in the county linked to outbreaks at eight adult care homes as of Saturday, a 22% increase in the number of coronavirus cases at care homes compared to numbers less than two weeks ago.
Broken down by facility, there were 118 COVID-19 cases and seven fatalities linked to Avamere at Three Fountains in Medford in an outbreak first reported Nov. 2.
77 cases and two fatalities at an outbreak at Avamere Health Services of Rogue Valley since Oct. 4.
96 cases and five fatalities at Table Rock Memory Care in Medford.
11 cases at Linda Vista in Ashland since Oct. 16.
10 cases at Orchard Assisted Living in Medford since Oct. 5.
four cases at Avamere at Waterford in Medford since Nov. 4.
16 cases at Rogue Valley Manor since Oct. 6.
County health officials recorded 63 new cases Saturday — 29 linked to assisted living home outbreaks — bringing the case count to 3,303. Of those 3,303 cases, 875 are considered active or infectious, meaning that the patient is shedding the virus at a rate likely to infect another person.
Oregon Health Authority data showed that hospitals in Jackson and Josephine counties were nearing capacity.
With a surge in COVID-19 cases overwhelming public health workers, Jackson County is offering do-it-yourself contact tracing tips for those who test positive for the virus. The county is urging people to contact their close contacts right away.
A close contact is someone who has been within 6 feet of a COVID-19 infected person for at least 15 minutes.
County contact tracers may not be able to reach out to everyone who tests positive for COVID-19, or there may be a lag due to the high volume of cases.
“Call, email, or text close contacts as soon as possible. Timing matters!” is a new website page filled with advice for people who test positive for COVID-19.
See this information at www.jacksoncounty.org/News/ArtMID/387/ArticleID/7/If-You-Test-Positive-for-COVID-19.
COVID-19 positive people are being advised to tell their close contacts to stay home, keep away from others and get tested for the virus.
The county offers additional advice:
- Because of the high number of people who are getting COVID-19, not everyone who is positive will get a call from a public health worker. Public health workers will focus first on those most at risk of serious illness or spreading the virus to a lot of other people.
- A public health worker doing case investigation may call you if you test positive. These workers help slow the spread of the virus by finding out who you may have infected and keeping them from spreading the virus to others.
- If public health calls you, let them know your close contacts and the places you visited. If you haven’t reached out to your close contacts already, the public health worker will help you identify and inform them.
- All information you share will be kept private and is not shared with the federal government, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement or your landlord.
- Health workers will not ask for Social Security numbers, bank information or credit card information.
- Call 2-1-1 if you need support for isolation or quarantine. 2-1-1 will connect you to organizations that can help with resources you may need, including groceries, financial support, help with rent and other essentials. If you cannot self-isolate, we will work with you to explore your options.
- Seek emergency medical care if someone has trouble breathing, persistent pain or pressure in the chest, new confusion, an inability to walk or stay awake, or a bluish face or lips. Contact your medical provider for symptoms that are less severe. Before going to a hospital or doctor’s appointment, call to let the facility know a person has or may have COVID-19.
This past week, Jackson County reported 500 new COVID-19 cases, plus 13 deaths. Those 500 people each came into contact with widely varying numbers of other people, depending on how much they had been socially isolating. The county has seen 500 or more cases per week every week in November.
On this Monday, Josephine County Public Health is reporting 42 new cases of COVID-19, bringing the county’s total number of cases to 449. Josephine County 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 449 total cases, 51 are currently presumptive and 398 are confirmed.
Around the state of Oregon
The year 2020 isn’t over yet, but it’s already been a roller coaster for Crater Lake National Park.
Based on figures through October, the park set five records for monthly visitation in 2020 — three for historic lows and two for historic highs. Superintendent Craig Ackerman said it was a challenge “trying to manage the day-to-day life of the park when we don’t know what to expect.”
According to park records dating back to 1982, the park saw historic low visitation in April, May and September and historic highs in July and August. The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has played havoc with park programs since March. And with new mandatory restrictions imposed by Oregon Governor Kate Brown and increasing caseloads, operating plans for the winter and for 2021 remain in a state of flux.
A Bend man who was reported missing after police found his SUV crashed near Lost Creek Lake was found dead, Oregon State Police confirmed on Friday.
Troopers discovered a crashed and “badly damaged” SUV along Highway 62 near Lost Creek Lake on October 27, but first responders found that there was no-one inside the vehicle. OSP came to believe that the driver was 33-year-old Matthew Lang of Bend. He had not been in contact with friends or family since the crash. Teams from Jackson County Search & Rescue have been scouring the area for signs of Lang, but he was still considered missing for a matter of weeks after the crash.
A statement from OSP said that a Jackson County Sheriff’s deputy found Lang’s body in the river on Tuesday, a few hundred yards from the crash site. The OSP Medical Examiner’s Office later confirmed that it was Lang’s body.
On Sunday, November 22, 2020 at approximately 1:37 A.M., Oregon State Police Troopers received reports of a commercial motor vehicle (CMV) driving northbound in the southbound lanes on Interstate 5 near milepost 163.
An officer from the Cottage Grove Police Department located and attempted to stop the CMV. The CMV drove onto the shoulder and continued northbound in an attempt to elude the officer.
Near milepost 173 the CMV (2020 International), operated by Tylor Stafford (53) of Shelbyville, Texas, crashed into a southbound CMV (2019 Volvo) operated by Daryl Rickman (53) of Portland, Oregon.
Stafford’s CMV (2020 International) then crashed into the concrete barrier and burst into flames.
Stafford attempted to run on foot however he was captured by an officer from the Cottage Grove Police Department. Stafford was arrested for multiple charges including DUII, Reckless Driving, and Reckless Endangering.
Stafford nor Rickman were injured.
The northbound lanes were closed for approximately 30 minutes and the southbound lanes for approximately 3 hours. OSP was assisted by Cottage Grove Police Department, Lane County Sheriff’s Office, South Lane Fire and Rescue, and ODOT.
SNAP FOOD PROGRAM EXTENDED THROUGH DECEMBER 31, 2020
Oregon received approval by the U.S. Department of Agriculture Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) to allow Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and Disaster SNAP recipients in the following 23 counties to purchase hot or prepared foods from authorized SNAP retailers until Dec. 31, 2020.
Approved counties: Benton, Clackamas, Columbia, Coos, Curry, Deschutes, Douglas, Hood River, Jackson, Josephine, Jefferson, Klamath, Lake, Lane, Lincoln, Linn, Marion, Multnomah, Polk, Tillamook, Wasco, Washington, and Yamhill.
Normally, SNAP benefits cannot be used to purchase “hot food products prepared for immediate consumption.” This restriction is being waived following the severe winds and wildfires that led to the displacement of many residents and left them without access to a kitchen to prepare meals. Examples of allowable Prepared Foods include hot deli foods, fountain drinks, including but not limited to coffee and tea, a slice of hot/prepared pizza, hot soup, salad bars, and sandwiches.
This waiver will last through Dec. 31, 2020, and allows SNAP and DSNAP recipients to use their benefits to buy prepared food at any participating retailer that accepts SNAP EBT cards. Restaurant purchases are still prohibited.
For more information about the hot food waiver, visit https://www.oregon.gov/dhs/ASSISTANCE/FOOD-BENEFITS/Pages/DSNAP-Hot-Foods-Waiver.aspx.
A Bend man was experiencing depression as a result of his failing marriage so he went to his family physician, who counseled him on ways to improve his marriage and prescribed him marijuana and CBD.
The patient now claims in a lawsuit that all along, the doctor, Ronald Rosen, was having an affair with his wife. In a complaint filed Monday in Deschutes County Circuit Court, local musician and financial adviser Peirson Tone seeks $2.9 million from Rosen for professional negligence.
Rosen counseled Tone and offered him solutions to enhance and heal his marriage, and prescribed him herbs and breathing techniques for his depression, in addition to marijuana and CBD. Rosen has been licensed to practice medicine in Oregon since 1991, according to the Oregon Medical Board. He has no prior cases of medical malpractice.
CelebrateAg this holiday season
By Anne Marie Moss, Oregon Farm Bureau communications director
Thanksgiving is all about making time to reflect on the many things in life for which we are grateful. In conversations around the dinner table, Oregon Farm Bureau urges readers to remember the farm and ranch families who grew the food you’ll be enjoying not only on Thanksgiving day, but all year long.
While Oregon isn’t a major producer of turkeys, we do specialize in beef cattle; cattle and calves rank as Oregon’s #3 top agricultural commodity by production value, drawing in over $625 million a year.
Your holiday dining will almost certainly feature other prominent Oregon ag products. Oregon is Number 1 in the nation for producing hazelnuts and Dungeness crab; Number 2 for pears and onions; Number 3 for cranberries; and Number 4 for green peas and potatoes. Milk is Oregon’s Number 4 top ag commodity, valuing at $552 million, and is used to create a host of delicious dairy products.
You’ll #CelebrateAg when you raise a toast during the holidays. Oregon-grown hops are to thank for many of the region’s craft beers, and our state ranks Number 3 in the United States for growing hops. The Oregon wine industry has surged over the past decade, now to 1,297 vineyards with 908 wineries. Wine grapes are the state’s Number 7 top ag commodity, valuing at $238 million.
Few things are more festive than purchasing a fresh Christmas tree. Did you know that Oregon is Number 1 in the nation for Christmas tree production? Because more people are staying at home this year due to the pandemic, there is expected to be increased interest in purchasing a live, fragrant tree that can be enjoyed all season long.
Beyond seasonal favorites, there are many other reasons to #CelebrateAg.
For one, Oregon agriculture is sustainable. Through Oregon Farm Bureau’s Century Farm & Ranch Program, an impressive 1,235 farms and ranches have remained operational, on the same land, and within the same family for at least 100 years, and 47 families have reached the 150-year milestone.
Agriculture is also family-based. Nearly 97% of Oregon’s farms and ranches — including commercial-scale farms — are family-owned and operated. Some are “corporate farms” that incorporated for tax purposes or succession-plan reasons. In agriculture, “big” doesn’t mean “bad.”
Agriculture benefits the environment. The wide, open spaces created by farms and ranches not only preserve Oregon’s cherished landscapes, but also provide 70% of the state’s wildlife habitat. 551,000 acres of Oregon ag land are enrolled in the voluntary USDA Conservation Reserve Program, which helps improve water quality, prevent soil erosion, and reduce loss of wildlife habitat on private land. And, combined, U.S. agriculture, land use, and forestry are a net sink for carbon emissions, removing 172 million metric tons of C02-equivalent emissions from the atmosphere in 2017.
Whether for the simple pleasure of enjoying Oregon-grown food — or for agriculture’s countless other contributions to society — please join us and take a moment to #CelebrateAg this holiday season.
Oregon Farm Bureau President Barb Iverson comes from a multigenerational family farm from Woodburn, raising industrial hemp, grass seed, squash, vetch seed, hazelnuts, wine and table grapes, and operating the Wooden Shoe Tulip Festival, which attracts over 160,000 visitors each year. Iverson is OFB’s 17th president.