The latest news stories and stories of interest in the Rogue Valley from the digital home of Southern Oregon, from Wynne Broadcasting’s RogueValleyMagazine.com
Thursday, April 8, 2021
Rogue Valley Weather
Today- Mostly cloudy, then gradually becoming sunny, with a high near 63. Calm wind becoming north northwest 5 to 7 mph in the afternoon.
Friday- Patchy frost before 10am. Otherwise, sunny, with a high near 66. Calm wind becoming north northwest around 6 mph in the afternoon.
Saturday- Mostly sunny, with a high near 61. Light northwest wind.
Sunday- Areas of frost before 10am. Otherwise, sunny, with a high near 70.
Monday- Sunny, with a high near 75.
Oregon reports 481 new confirmed and presumptive COVID-19 cases, 7 new deaths
There are seven new COVID-19 related deaths in Oregon, raising the state’s death toll to 2,434. The Oregon Health Authority reported 481 new confirmed and presumptive cases of COVID-19 bringing the state total to 168,128.
The new confirmed and presumptive COVID-19 cases reported today are in the following counties: Baker (4), Benton (9), Clackamas (55), Clatsop (4), Columbia (13), Coos (5), Crook (1), Deschutes (32), Douglas (11), Harney (1), Hood River (1), Jackson (23), Jefferson (1), Josephine (17), Klamath (11), Lake (2), Lane (40), Lincoln (3), Linn (21), Malheur (3), Marion (29), Morrow (3), Multnomah (92), Polk (11), Sherman (2), Tillamook (4), Umatilla (5), Union (1), Wallowa (3), Wasco (3), Washington (61) and Yamhill (10).
Oregon Health Authority publishes COVID-19 variant dashboard
Starting today, the Oregon Health Authority is publishing a Tableau dashboard showing the cumulative count of SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern or variants of interest in Oregon. (For additional information on COVID-19 variants, go here.)
The dashboard will include a map of variant cases broken down by Oregon’s seven Hospital Preparedness Program Regions, along with a time series showing variant cases in Oregon by collection date. The dashboard will be updated weekly on Wednesdays and include data through the previous Saturday.
In order to provide a more comprehensive picture of variant circulation in Oregon, OHA will update its variant counts on the new dashboard using data from the GISAID Initiative — a publicly available scientific database for genetic sequences. This will allow OHA to rapidly report historical data whenever definitions of variants of concern or variants of interest are updated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
On March 16, the CDC reclassified the B.1.427 and B.1.429 variants as variants of concern. These variants have been circulating in Oregon since late 2020 and had not been previously reportable.
Oregon will continue to ask all laboratory partners to promptly report all variants of concern (B.1.1.7, B.1.351, P.1, B.1.427 and B.1.429) and variants of interest (B.1.525, B.1.526 and P.2) to public health authorities in order to inform case investigation and contact tracing.
OHA to report COVID-19 vaccine spoilage, mishaps
Starting this week, Oregon Health Authority began publishing weekly reports with a table representing vaccination shipping mishaps, refrigeration fluctuations, breakage and/or vaccination expiration. Updates to the table, featured below, will occur every Tuesday and be featured in this daily media release. Vaccine providers report this information to OHA through the ALERT Immunization Information System (IIS).
“We believe that our health system partners are managing their vaccine responsibly and doing everything that they can to minimize waste,” said OHA Chief Financial Officer Dave Baden. “At this point, considering the logistical complexity of operating large-scale vaccination programs, the small amount of wasted vaccine in Oregon is expected and not surprising. This amount is a small fraction of the more than 2 million doses that have been safely delivered, managed and injected in the arms of Oregonians.”
Oregon Update Vaccine Waste Disclosure1,2,3
|Vaccine Type||Doses Recalled||Wasted/Spoiled/Expired||Grand Total|
|Janssen COVID-19 Vaccine||42||42|
|Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine||544||544|
|Pfizer COVID-19 Vaccine||70||70|
1Updated: 4/6/21 2Data source: ALERT Immunization Information System (IIS) 3Data is preliminary and subject to change
Recalled doses: Examples of recalled doses include doses that have been recalled by the manufacturer or FDA.
Wasted doses: Examples of wasted doses include doses that have been destroyed due to breakage of vials, or improperly discarded doses.
Spoiled doses: Examples of spoiled doses include doses that have been left out too long or doses involved in a refrigeration or freezer failure.
Expired doses: Examples of expired doses include doses that are past their labeled expiration dates.
It is important to remember that vaccine wastage is a normal part of distributing vaccine and occurs infrequently.
Vaccinations in Oregon
Today, OHA reported that 36,104 new doses of COVID-19 vaccinations were added to the state immunization registry. Of this total, 24,097 doses were administered on April 6 and 12,007 were administered on previous days but were entered into the vaccine registry on April 6.
Oregon has now administered a total of 1,057,696 doses of Pfizer, 952,957 doses of Moderna and 55,505 doses of Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccines. As of today, 802,090 people have completed a COVID-19 vaccine series. There are 1,313,016 people who have had at least one dose.
Cumulative daily totals can take several days to finalize because providers have 72 hours to report doses administered and technical challenges have caused many providers to lag in their reporting. OHA has been providing technical support to vaccination sites to improve the timeliness of their data entry into the state’s ALERT Immunization Information System (IIS).
To date, 1,340,235 doses of Pfizer, 1,198,000 doses of Moderna and 170,400 doses of Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccines have been delivered to sites across Oregon.
These data are preliminary and subject to change. OHA’s dashboards provide regularly updated vaccination data, and Oregon’s dashboard has been updated today.
Weekly COVID-19 cases increase; deaths and hospitalizations rise
The Oregon Health Authority’s COVID-19 Weekly Report, released today, shows increased daily cases and increases in hospitalizations and deaths from the previous week.
OHA reported 2,964 new daily cases of COVID-19 during the week of Monday, March 29 through Sunday, April 4. That represents a 21% increase from the previous week.
New COVID-19 related hospitalizations rose to 150, up from 137 last week.
Reported COVID-19 related deaths rose to 19, up from 10 last week.
There were 93,357 tests for COVID-19 for the week of March 28 through April 4 — an 1.4% increase from last week. The percentage of positive tests rose from 3.7% to 4.5%.
People 70 years of age and older have accounted for 40% of COVID-19 related hospitalizations and 77% of COVID-19 related deaths.
Today’s COVID-19 Weekly Outbreak Report shows 21 active COVID-19 outbreaks in senior living communities and congregate living settings, with three or more confirmed cases and one or more COVID-19 related deaths.
Grange Co-Op Celebrates Arbor Day with Free Tree Sapling Giveaway
Grange Co-op is celebrating Arbor Day by giving away 1,500 tree saplings at its locations in southern Oregon and California, the company announced Wednesday.
The event starts on Tuesday, April 13, beginning at 11 a.m. and lasting until all of the saplings are given away, limit of one tree per household. Giveaways will happen at every retail store — in Ashland, Medford, Central Point, White City, Grants Pass, Klamath Falls and Yuba City.
This year, the event will include seedlings for Red Maple, Japanese Maple, Eastern Redbud, Maidenhair tree, Heartleaf Hornbeam and Korean Dogwood trees.
“We recognize how difficult 2020 was, however one thing that many people discovered was the love of gardening and landscaping,” says Jason Wall, Marketing Manager at Grange Co-op. “By continuing with our annual tradition of Arbor Day, we can collectively help the environment along with creating an opportunity for customers to plant a tree they can enjoy for decades at their home.”
——- In celebration of Arbor Day, we’re giving away over 1,500 trees to our customers this April 13th! Varieties on hand will be an assortment of Japanese maple, red maple, eastern redbud, Korean dogwood, maidenhair tree and heartleaf hornbeam. We will begin offering tree seedlings to customers at 11:00AM. Traditionally, these free trees do not last long and they are only available while supplies last, so don’t wait! Each of our stores will have free trees available in the nursery where customers can stand in line following social distancing guidelines. Here is a preliminary description of each of the trees available for free that day: https://www.grangecoop.com/event/arbor_day_tree_giveaway/ *Event will be held following COVID-19 guidelines. Limit one per household. While supplies last.
Senator Wyden Visits The Rogue Valley
Senator Ron Wyden made visits to La Clinica in Medford and Grants Pass Pharmacy, April 7, to see the progress health care workers are making toward administering COVID-19 vaccinations.
Wyden says, he fully supports vaccinating as many people as possible and supports vaccination efforts locally.
He says he plans to express his support as the Chairman on the Senate Finance Committee, to use the $2 trillion available for health resources efficiently.
He says he encourages people with medical expertise to particpate as volunteers to continue rolling out vaccine doses at a rapid pace.
Defendant convicted for setting sleeping man aflame on Medford street
A 23-year-old man was convicted in Jackson County Circuit Court on Wednesday for lighting a sleeping homeless man on fire in downtown Medford last fall.
Medford Police arrested Brandon Nathaniel Lyon, also a transient, on September 16 after matching his description to that of the suspect, seen on security camera footage lighting the victim’s blanket on fire. The 54-year-old victim woke up in flames, receiving third-degree burns to his hands and feet from putting the fire out.
Klamath County Sheriff’s Office is seeking the public’s assistance on a missing person.
Benjamin “Buttons” Mowery, age 31, is believed to last been seen in the Klamath Falls area around March 24, 2021.
His vehicle was discovered burned, the Sheriff’s Office confirmed.Mowery may have been heading toward Tucson or Prescott, Arizona. Mowery is described as 6 feet tall, 163 pounds, brown hair, hazel/green eyes, light complexion with distinctive facial tattoos.
If anyone has any information regarding Benjamin Mowery please contact the Klamath County Sheriff’s Office at 541-883-5130 or anonymously through the KCSO tip line 541-850-5380.
AROUND the STATE of OREGON
Youth Conservation Corps Program at Lava Beds National Monument Cancelled
Due to health and safety concerns surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, the Youth Conservation Corps program at Lava Beds National Monument has been canceled for the summer of 2021.
After consideration of ways to mitigate the health risks that COVID-19 presents to staff and community members, the Parks Service announced Tuesday that it “could not effectively manage and implement a summer YCC conservation work crew in a manner that did not unreasonably endanger participants and the public. Furthermore, the park does not have its usual complement of staff that would oversee this program due to seasonal staff housing limits related to COVID-19 safety issues, and staffing shortfalls.”
The YCC program at Lava Beds has operated for decades and the plan is for it to return in 2022. When available, the program provides summer employment for Tulelake and Klamath Basin youth. Crews typically work to improve trails and complete other tasks.
Senate Recall Effort
Oregon state Senate Minority Leader Fred Girod faces a recall effort because he was among GOP lawmakers who allowed the chamber to reach a quorum last month while it debated whether to ban firearms in state buildings. Girod and five fellow Republicans were on hand March 25, ensuring the chamber had the minimum 20 members present required to take up business.
Republicans in the state Senate have previously skipped floor sessions en masse to thwart legislation favored by majority Democrats. The gun bill passed over GOP objections. On Monday, a Molalla resident named LaVaedra Newton filed a prospective petition to bounce Girod from the Senate seat he’s held since 2008. Newton and others say Girod abdicated his duty by not blocking the gun bill.
To successfully force a recall election, Newton will need to collect at least 8,922 valid signatures from voters in Girod’s district by July 6. In recent years, recall petitions against two state legislators — former Democratic state Rep. Tiffiny Mitchell of Astoria and Republican state Sen. Chuck Thomsen of Hood River — have come up short. So have five petitions to recall Gov. Kate Brown.
Portland Reaches Deal On Proposals Intended To Stem Spike In Gun Violence
The mayor of Portland, Oregon, and city commissioners have reached a deal on proposals intended to stem a spike in gun violence over the past year. The compromise, expected to be would re-establish a proactive team of uniformed police officers tasked with preventing shootings. The team would operate with greater civilian oversight than its disbanded predecessor.
The move represents an about-face after city leaders in June voted to cut nearly $16 million from the police budget, reductions that included the elimination of the gun violence unit. The cuts came amid racial justice protests following the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis.
Under the deal, the council would also provide millions of dollars to community organizations for anti-violence work and authorize the hiring of two dozen unarmed park rangers, as a trio of commissioners proposed last week, according to the proposals.
Oregon House Judiciary Committee Unanimously Approved Almost a Dozen Bills on Police Reform
Republicans and Democrats on the Oregon House Judiciary Committee unanimously approved almost a dozen bills on police reform, a rare show of bipartisan unity in an otherwise bitterly divided Legislature.
The bills approved Tuesday evening involve regulating use of tear gas, requiring a publicly accessible database that names officers disciplined for misconduct, and limiting arbitrators’ decisions on officers’ misconduct cases.
Gov. Kate Brown congratulated the committee for pushing forward so many reforms in the wake of the death of George Floyd last May in Minneapolis. Black Lives Matter demonstrations were held in cities across Oregon after Floyd died in police custody. In Portland, large protests went on for more than 100 straight days.
Oregon Senate Passes Bill That Would Require High School Students Take A Semester Of Civics Education Prior To Graduation.
The Oregon Senate passed a bill on Wednesday that would require high school students take a semester of civics education prior to graduation. Senate Bill 513 was carried by Republican lawmakers, but it passed the chamber with widespread bipartisan support in a 25-3 vote.
The Oregon Department of Education already has standards in place for civics and government studies, but the bill ensures that students receive dedicated class time over a semester-long course. Students will need to complete at least a one-half credit in civics to receive a high school diploma, though that requirement does not apply until 2026.
Republicans said that the bill has broad support from educators, Oregon business leaders, government officials, and other citizens. The bill now goes onto the Oregon House of Representatives for consideration. The House version of the bill is introduced by Democratic Rep. Paul Evans.
State Officials Investigating Cause of Fire at Home Where Three Recent Murders Happened in Bend
The cause of a fire in a home that was the scene of multiple murders in Bend is under investigation by the State Fire Marshall and Oregon State Police.
Bend Fire & Rescue responded to the blaze just before 11 Tuesday night that gutted the home on Granite Drive.
Brothers-in-law Jeffrey Taylor and Benjamin Taylor – both in their 60’s – were found dead in the home last month, and in January 43 year old Daphne Banks was beaten so badly in the home she later died after being taken off of life support.
35 year old Randall Kilby of Bend has been charged with all three of the murders. He and his mother had been living in the home with the Taylors when the murders took place.