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
Thursday, December 10, 2020
Rogue Valley Weather
Today- Showers likely, mainly between 10am and 4pm. Areas of fog before 1pm. Snow level 2600 feet rising to 3600 feet in the afternoon. Otherwise, mostly cloudy, with a high near 46. Calm wind becoming north northwest around 5 mph in the afternoon. Chance of precipitation is 60%.
Friday- A 50 percent chance of rain after 10am. Patchy fog before 10am. Snow level 1600 feet rising to 2600 feet in the afternoon. Otherwise, cloudy, with a high near 43. Light east wind.
Saturday- Rain likely, mainly before 10am. Cloudy, with a high near 49. Calm wind. Chance of precipitation is 60%. New precipitation amounts of less than a tenth of an inch possible.
Sunday- Rain likely. Cloudy, with a high near 48. Chance of precipitation is 70%. New precipitation amounts between a tenth and quarter of an inch possible.
Monday- A chance of rain before 10am. Snow level 3800 feet. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 46.
Weekly cases, hospitalizations set new pandemic highs — Oregon hits another record with over 10,000 cases of COVID-19 in a week
Oregon has reported 1,243 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the state total to 88,287. The state reported 30 more deaths, brining the death toll to 1,110. The highest number of new cases were reported in the Portland metro area.
OHA’s COVID-19 weekly report released 12/9, set weekly highs for COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations for the third consecutive week.
OHA reported 10,355 new daily cases during the week of Monday, Nov. 30 through Sunday, Dec. 6, a 14% increase over the previous week and the seventh consecutive record high weekly case count.
Hospitalizations associated with COVID-19 increased to 494, a 24% increase and an average of 70 per day.
There were 133 reported COVID-19 reported deaths, up from 86 the previous week and an average of 19 per day – the highest since the pandemic began.
People aged 20 to 49 have accounted for 55% of the cases, while people 70 and older have accounted for 76%of the deaths.
Finally, During the week of Nov. 29 to Dec. 5, the number of COVID-19 tests administered to Oregonians increased significantly to 170,964. The percentage of positive tests was 8.1%.
Jackson County Issues COVID-19 Guidelines • Jackson County is under the Extreme Risk level, and disease activity is widespread in the county.
|COVID-19 Update December 9, 2020 CASES FATALITIES WORLD (12/09/20, per Johns Hopkins) 68,645,081 1,564,496 USA (12/09/20, per Johns Hopkins) 15285,261 287,671 OREGON (12/08/20, Per OHA) 87,082 1,080 JACKSON COUNTY (12/09/20, per JCHHS) 4,566 44 TOTAL ACTIVE/INFECTIOUS CASES – JACKSON COUNTY (12/09/20, per JC HHS) – 752|
For media interview requests, please contact Tanya Phillips by 12:30 pm today. Interviews will be scheduled with Dr. Jim Shames, Jackson County Medical Director.
Tanya Phillips Health Promotion Program Manager – Jackson County Public Health
(541) 770-7708 – email@example.com
Jackson County COVID-19 Update
[Medford, Oregon] —Jackson County Public Health reports 54 new COVID-19 cases as of 12:01 am on December 9, 2020. Additionally, two cases were removed from the total case count that had a previous reporting date. These updates bring the total reported COVID-19 cases in Jackson County to 4,566.
Jackson County Public Health began investigating a possible workplace outbreak at the Sherm’s Thunderbird Market on November 20, 2020. Currently, there are a total of five cases. This is an ongoing investigation, and for continued information, please access the Oregon Health Authority’s Weekly COVID-19 Report.
For additional COVID-19 data, visit the COVID-19 Data Dashboard at Situation in Jackson County, Oregon webpage. The Oregon Health Authority’s COVID-19 Data Dashboard website does publish Jackson County COVID-19 data.
How to Prevent the Spread of COVID-19
“Vaccination gives us hope that the pandemic will end, but in the meantime, we need to continue safety measures to keep the virus from spreading: wear a mask, physically distance from others, wash your hands, avoid gatherings and stay home when you’re sick,” says Dr. Jim Shames, Jackson County Health Officer. According to the Centers for Disease Control, no single strategy can control the pandemic; instead, a multipronged approach using all available evidence-based strategies at the individual and community levels can break transmission chains and address high levels of community transmission; reduce related illnesses, long-term sequelae, and deaths; and mitigate the pandemic’s economic impact.Wash your hands often
Clean and disinfect surfaces that are touched frequently with common EPA registered household disinfectants
Monitor your health, be alert for symptoms
Always cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze or use the inside of your elbow, and do not spit
Jackson County is under the Extreme Risk level, and disease activity is widespread in the county. Please follow the guidance under the Extreme Risk; following the guidance will help reduce community spread of COVID-19. Information can be found on the OHA website.
As cases, hospitalizations and deaths continue to increase across the United States and Oregon, the safest way to celebrate the winter holidays is to celebrate at home with the people you live with. Gatherings with family and friends who do not live with you can increase the chances of getting or spreading COVID-19 or the flu.
Celebrating virtually or with members of your own household (who are consistently taking measures to reduce the spread of COVID-19) poses the lowest risk for spread. Your household is anyone who currently lives and shares common spaces in your housing unit (such as your house or apartment). This can include family members, as well as roommates or people who are unrelated to you. People who do not currently live in your housing unit, such as college students who are returning home from school for the holidays, should be considered part of different households. In-person gatherings that bring together family members or friends from other households, including college students returning home, pose varying levels of risk.
The following people should not attend in-person holiday gatherings:
- People with or exposed to COVID-19
Do not host or participate in any in-person gatherings if you or anyone in your household
- Has been diagnosed with COVID-19 and has not met the criteria for when it is safe to be around others
- Is waiting for COVID-19 test results
- May have been exposed to someone with COVID-19 in the last 14 days
- Is at increased risk of severe illness from COVID-19
- Do not host or attend gatherings with anyone who has COVID-19 or has been exposed to someone with COVID-19 in the last 14 days.
- People at increased risk for severe illness
If you are an older adult or person with certain medical conditions who is at increased risk of severe illness from COVID-19 or live or work with someone at increased risk of severe illness, you should avoid in-person gatherings with people who do not live in your household.
- Adults of any age with the following conditions are at increased risk of severe illness from the virus that causes COVID-19:
- Chronic kidney disease
- COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease)
- Heart conditions, such as heart failure, coronary artery disease, or cardiomyopathies
- Immunocompromised state (weakened immune system) from solid organ transplant
- Obesity (body mass index [BMI] of 30 kg/m2 or higher but < 40 kg/m2)
- Severe Obesity (BMI ≥ 40 kg/m2)
- Sickle cell disease
- Type 2 diabetes mellitus
For more information: The public can call 211-information with general questions
- OHA Emerging Respiratory Disease page: www.healthoregon.org/coronavirus
- CDC COVID-19 page: www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html
- CDC Travel within the U.S.: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/travel-in-the-us.html
- Jackson County Health and Human Services: http://jacksoncountyor.org/hhs/COVID-19
- Oregon COVID-19 Testing Location Finder: https://govstatus.egov.com/or-oha-covid-19-testing
- For more information on how to celebrate the holidays safely, visit the CDC COVID-19 Holiday Celebrations webpage.
- Review the Statewide Mask, Face Covering, Face Shield Guidance for detailed information
Jackson County EOC & Business Oregon Partner to get PPE distributed to Businesses – Event dates: 12/9/2020 7:30 AM – 12/16/2020 9:30 AM – Event Location: Jackson County Expo
Business Oregon and the Jackson County Emergency Operations Center (EOC) have set up a depot to distribute Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to Jackson County Businesses to help curb the current surge of COVID-19 in our community.
The distribution center has been set up at the Jackson County Expo at 1 Penninger Road, Central Point, Oregon 97502. The center will be open from December 9 to December 16 and open from 7:30 am to 9:30 am each day. Please enter at Gate 3.
“This is a difficult time for businesses,” noted Helen Funk, Jackson County Emergency Operations Center, “We hope that this no-cost PPE will help to slow the spread of COVID-19 and help companies in our county.
The PPE is available to all Jackson County businesses and has been pre-packaged for no-contact distribution. Packages include:
- Surgical masks
- Sanitizer (gallon and 2L)
- Disinfectant spray 16.8oz cans
- Wet wipes (alcohol-based)
- Sanitizing wipes (non-alcohol)
- Gloves (non-sterile) Med & Large
- No-touch thermometers
If you have questions or need to coordinate a pick-up, please contact Helen Funk, Jackson County EOC, at (541) 774-8274 or email JC_EOC_Logistics@jacksoncounty.org
MEDFORD, Ore. — Coronavirus has had a major impact on Salvation Army of Jackson County’s annual fundraising campaign, causing what Major Jason Koenig calls “a very challenging year,” but Monday brought a bright spot.
Koenig says that the Salvation Army’s annual Red Kettle campaign is short about half of its usual bell-ringing volunteers. The organization is currently short about $25,000 and has not yet managed to raise half of its $160,000 goal for the year.
However, sometime on Monday, Koenig says that someone placed a gold coin worth an estimated $1,800 in one of the Medford kettles.
“It is a great blessing and a reminder of the amazing generosity of our community,” Koenig said.
Monday’s unexpected gift aside, the Salvation Army is still very much in search of funding to help those in need for the next year. Particularly with COVID-19 having such an outside impact on bell-ringing volunteers, the Salvation Army has provided additional ways to donate, and instituted extra safety measures at its usual sites:
- Give online at RedKettleMedford.org
- To help ensure the safety of bell ringers, donors and partners, The Salvation Army has adopted nationally mandated safety protocols.
- Donate digitally with Apple Pay or Google Pay at any red kettle in Oregon.
- Ask Amazon Alexa to donate by saying, “Alexa, donate to The Salvation Army,” then specifying the amount.
- Adopt additional Angels to give hope and joy to kids and families in need through The Salvation Army’s Angel Tree program.
“Every donation provides help and hope to those in need, and all gifts stay within the community in which they are given,” Koenig said.
AROUND THE STATE of OREGON
Oregon eviction moratorium set to end on Dec. 31, unless lawmakers act — The eviction moratorium is set to end on Dec. 31st. Tenant advocacy groups fear there will be a wave of mass evictions.
Oregon lawmakers remain divided on proposal to extend eviction moratorium, putting special session in doubt.
“Time is running out,” said Alison McIntosh, a spokesman for Neighborhood Partnerships, which runs the Oregon Housing Alliance. “With the eviction moratorium set to expire on Dec. 31, we know that renters across the state will be facing evictions very quickly, both in the middle of the worst spike in COVID cases that we’ve seen so far and the middle of winter. That is really concerning to us. We need the legislature to act to solve this problem.”
More than 60 Oregon soldiers test positive for coronavirus after returning from overseas deployment
As a large contingent of Oregon-based soldiers returns home from overseas deployment, dozens have tested positive for coronavirus following a mission in Kosovo, officials said this week. More than 60 Oregon soldiers test positive for coronavirus after returning from overseas deployment
Members of the Oregon congressional delegations have raised questions about whether the military has been able to give the infected service members adequate treatment. Around 400 soldiers with Oregon’s National Guard, from the 2nd Battalion, 162nd Infantry Regiment and Oregon’s 41st Infantry Brigade, began returning from a 10-month deployment in Kosovo to Fort Bliss in Texas in November.
As of Tuesday, at least 60 of them had tested positive, according to Stephen Bomar, a spokesman for the Oregon Military Department. It’s unclear if the service members were infected at Fort Bliss or overseas. In a letter on Monday, members of Oregon’s congressional delegation questioned whether the soldiers were receiving proper care. “Our concern for the health and wellbeing of the soldiers and their families is of the utmost priority as they reintegrate back into their communities,” the delegation wrote. “We have questions as to their care at Ft. Bliss.”
The letter was signed by Sens. Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden and Reps. Kurt Schrader, Peter DeFazio, Earl Blumenauer, Greg Walden and Suzanne Bonamici. Among the unresolved issues, according to the letter, was whether the Army had enough test kits, personal protective equipment and personnel to perform contact tracing for the infected soldiers.
“If not, what is the plan to address shortages and is there assistance needed to do so?” the delegation wrote.
The service members returned to Fort Bliss for a 14-day mandatory quarantine upon returning from Kosovo, Bomar said, adding that all Oregon soldiers remaining in Texas have been tested and that the Army was “working through their protocols” in regards to quarantining and contact tracing.
A representative from Schrader’s office said the delegation had not received a response as of Wednesday morning.
Meanwhile, roughly 200 of the soldiers from the 2nd Battalion, 162nd Infantry Regiment, returned to Oregon on Tuesday night, landing at Portland International Airport before they were bussed to reunite with friends and family in Clackamas and Lane counties. The deployment to Kosovo was the second largest for the Oregon National Guard since World War II, Bomar said. The Army hopes the remaining soldiers can return home from Fort Bliss by Christmas.
Some wildlife in Klamath Falls are suffering from lead poisoning according to a wildlife rehab center in the area.
The founder of Badger Run Wildlife Rehab says many wild animals are ingesting lead when eating dead fish and deer killed by humans using lead ammunition or lead fish weights.
Liz Burton, the founder of the rehab center, says they test every bird and scavenger that comes into their facility.
She says around 80% of hawks and owls have lead in their systems, with 100% of bald eagles tested showing ‘measurable’ amounts of lead. She says hunters using lead ammunition, anglers using lead weights and farmers using lead scatter shots to scare birds off are causing these wildlife to suffer.
Burton adds that a fragment of lead the size of a grain of rice, around 100 micro-grams of lead, is enough to kill a bald eagle.
“[The animals are] ingesting these little scraps of lead in the scraps or gut piles, then, because their stomach acid is very acidic to help them breakdown what they eat, [it] actually breaks down the lead quickly and sends it into their blood stream,” said Burton.
She says testing the animals for lead costs $10, with treatment totaling around $100.
This year alone, 14 raptors have died from lead poisoning and the facility has treated and cured 25.
She believes the lead poisoning has been going on for awhile and many people have not been aware of the problem due to a lack of testing.
She encourages people to stop using lead ammunition to spare the health of wildlife.
Committee for Family Forestlands meets Dec. 10 via Zoom
SALEM, Ore. – The Committee for Family Forestlands will meet virtually Thursday, Dec. 10 from 9 a.m. to 11:15 a.m. To join the call or provide public comment at this virtual meeting please contact Susan Dominique at 503-945-7502.
The committee’s agenda includes:
- Private Forest Division update
- Post-fire recovery
- Senate Bill 1602
- Committee vacancies
- Partner updates
The meeting is open to the public to attend online via Zoom. Public comments will be accepted near the start of the meeting after approval of the minutes. Requests for an interpreter for the hearing impaired or other accommodations for persons with disabilities should be made at least 48 hours before the meeting by calling Susan Dominique at 503-945-7502.
The 13-member committee researches policies that affect family forests, natural resources and forestry benefits. Based on its findings, the committee recommends actions to the Oregon Board of Forestry and the State Forester. You can find more information at https://www.oregon.gov/ODF/Board/Pages/CFF.aspx
Corvallis woman sentenced to prison in a 2019 car crash that killed her teenage daughter.
Kayla Margie Carter, 32, pleaded guilty in October to criminally negligent homicide and third-degree assault. She also pleaded no contest to driving under the influence of intoxicants.
She was accused of running a stop sign at an intersection in Polk County in March 2019 and hitting another car. Her 13-year-old daughter Brianna was in the passenger seat and died at the scene. The driver of the other car was injured.
Carter was sentenced Dec. 8 to two years and 10 months in prison. She will also serve three years of post-prison supervision and her driver’s license is suspended for life.
Eugene Hit With Rash Of Heroin Overdoses
.–A spike in heroin overdoses–including three in three hours–hit Eugene on Wednesday, prompting police to issue a warning about a bad batch of the drug.
In total, first responders were called to 13 overdoses in 24 hours. None of the incidents were fatal. One of the overdoses happened at Washington-Jefferson park. Janet Ayres lives nearby and said the drug problem there is common and frustrating.
“It’s been horrific,” Ayres said. “It’s been with the full approval of the city politicians, not enacting decent codes that prevent it. Right now the city is in a reactionary mode, and I expect my government to be proactive.”
Eugene police said all those who overdosed were revived with Narcan, a drug that reverses the effect of an overdose. Police also said if you see anyone overdosing, call 911.