Rogue Valley News, Friday 4/23 – Jackson County Reports Sharp Rise In COVID-19 Cases, White City Fire Resulted From An ‘Illegal Cannabis Extraction Process’

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

Friday, April 23, 2021

Rogue Valley Weather

Today- Increasing clouds, with a high near 74. Calm wind becoming north around 5 mph in the afternoon.

Saturday- Showers. High near 59. Light and variable wind becoming southwest 9 to 14 mph in the afternoon. Winds could gust as high as 21 mph. Chance of precipitation is 90%.

Sunday- Showers, with thunderstorms also possible after 2pm. Some of the storms could produce small hail. Snow level 4000 feet. High near 56. Light and variable wind. Chance of precipitation is 100%. New rainfall amounts between a tenth and quarter of an inch, except higher amounts possible in thunderstorms.

Monday- A 40 percent chance of showers, mainly after 11am. Snow level 3100 feet rising to 4400 feet in the afternoon. Partly sunny, with a high near 59.

Tuesday- Mostly sunny, with a high near 69.

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Oregon reports 993 new confirmed and presumptive COVID-19 cases, 1 new death

There is one new COVID-19 related death in Oregon, raising the state’s death toll to 2,467. The Oregon Health Authority reported 993 new confirmed and presumptive cases of COVID-19 bringing the state total to 178,110.

The new confirmed and presumptive COVID-19 cases reported today are in the following counties: Baker (14), Benton (24), Clackamas (116), Clatsop (4), Columbia (14), Coos (6), Crook (12), Curry (2), Deschutes (57), Douglas (5), Grant (1), Hood River (5), Jackson (46), Jefferson (6), Josephine (17), Klamath (54), Lake (2), Lane (54), Lincoln (7), Linn (34), Malheur (2), Marion (109), Morrow (1), Multnomah (206), Polk (20), Tillamook (1), Umatilla (8), Union (2), Wasco (16), Washington (128) and Yamhill (20).

Oregon Reports Highest Daily COVID-19 Case Total in 3 Months

Oregon health officials reported 989 new COVID-19 cases on Wednesday — the state’s highest daily case count since mid-January.

The spike follows Oregon’s fourth consecutive week of surging daily cases and increasing hospitalizations. According to most recent data from the state health authority, last week there was a 27% increase in cases. The state’s positivity rate is 5.3%.

Since the start of the pandemic, Oregon officials have recorded 177,134 COVID-19 cases. The state’s death toll is 2,466.

More than 1 million people in Oregon, or about one-fourth of the state’s population, have been fully vaccinated. On Monday, anyone 16 or older became eligible for the shots.

Although eligibility has opened up, health officials continue to warn that the virus, including variants, continues to spread through communities, senior living centers, workplaces, homes and even the state Capitol building. On Tuesday, officials canceled floor sessions for the rest of the week in the Oregon House of Representatives after someone in the building tested positive for COVID-19.

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown has warned businesses will be shut down again if hospitals become inundated with patients.

On Tuesday, the governor announced that about 10 counties are moving into the ‘high risk’ category, which implements more COVID-19 restrictions, including decreased capacity in restaurants and gyms.

Cover picture for the article

Vaccinations in Oregon

Today, OHA reported that 48,387 new doses of COVID-19 vaccinations were added to the state immunization registry. Of this total, 28,535 doses were administered on April 21 and 19,852 were administered on previous days but were entered into the vaccine registry on April 21.

The seven-day running average is now 34,328 doses per day.

Oregon has now administered a total of 1,398,442 doses of Pfizer, 1,172,051 doses of Moderna and 91,160 doses of Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccines. As of today, 1,091,777 people have completed a COVID-19 vaccine series. There are 1,658,130 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, 1,683,045 doses of Pfizer, 1,432,000 doses of Moderna and 215,000 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.

OHA finds small number of data entry errors in reported vaccine doses

Oregon Health Authority has identified that a small number of Johnson & Johnson vaccine doses were recorded in the ALERT IIS System on and after April 13. OHA conducted an investigation and contacted all of the sites that reported submitting three or more doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine since the pause was issued April 13. All the sites that OHA contacted reported that these reports were data entry errors, and none of the sites had administered the vaccine. All told, OHA has determined that data entry errors were a factor at eight sites, accounting for 121 of the 159 total doses recorded.

As we continue to receive additional reports of Johnson and Johnson doses administered while the pause is in effect, we will clarify with vaccine providers whether or not these are data entry errors and will continue to ask providers to clarify these reports.

OHA is currently working with sites that have continued to report administering Johnson & Johnson vaccine doses during the pause to investigate why these doses have been reported. Consequently, the vaccine administration numbers for the Johnson & Johnson vaccine will change as this work continues. OHA is reiterating to partners that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have recommended a pause on Johnson & Johnson vaccine administrations as they conduct a federal review of the vaccine.

OHA, CDC investigating death of Oregon resident following Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccination

Oregon Health Authority has been informed that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is investigating the death of an Oregon woman this week following immunization with Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine.

Information about the death has been sent to the CDC through the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS), the national reporting system used to collect reports of adverse events after vaccination.

OHA was notified of the potential adverse event on April 20, two days after the CDC was notified on April 18. The Oregon resident, a woman in her 50s, received a dose of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine before the pause order on its use was issued. Until the investigation is complete, it cannot be concluded whether her death is related to the vaccine.

She developed a rare but serious blood clot within two weeks following vaccination. This blood clot was seen in combination with very low platelets. Prior to the issuance of the pause, cases of this serious blood clot had been identified among six women around the country who received the vaccine.

Health care providers are required to report certain adverse events after COVID-19 vaccines, in accordance with the emergency use authorization (EUA) for COVID-19 vaccines. These include serious adverse events, such as death, any life-threatening event and inpatient hospitalization. At the time of the CDC–FDA pause recommendation, about 7.5 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine had been administered in the United States, with more than 87,000 doses having been administered at locations throughout Oregon.

The case in Oregon will add to the evidence of potential risk associated with Johnson & Johnson vaccine. The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) will review the data accumulated to date and weigh the risks and benefits of the vaccine. These considerations will inform the ACIP’s recommendations regarding use of the vaccine going forward.

The CDC and OHA will provide updates on any developments as they can be shared during the review and investigation process.

OHA continues to encourage all Oregonians to schedule an appointment to receive a COVID-19 vaccination when appointments become available.

LOCAL HEADLINES:

Jackson County Reports Sharp Rise In COVID-19 Cases

Health & Human Services

Jackson County Public Health reported 93 new cases on Wednesday, the highest daily total since January 28. The latest report brings Jackson County past 10,000 cases since the pandemic began more than a year ago.

Even though Jackson County’s capacity to administer coronavirus vaccines continues to grow, public health officials are sounding the alarm about a surging spike in COVID-19 cases to an extent not seen in months.

“The increase in cases is incredibly alarming,” said Dr. Jim Shames, Jackson County’s health officer. “We are in a race between people getting vaccinated and the rapid spread of COVID-19 variants.”

Shames underlined that mutations occur as viruses replicate, creating the new variants. Some of them — like the “UK variant,” B.1.1.7 — are believed to spread even more rapidly than the original strain of SARS CoV-2.

“All currently authorized vaccines provide a good level of protection against SARS CoV-2, including the variant B.1.1.7. No vaccine provides 100 percent protection, but the current vaccines are highly effective at preventing people from getting the illness and becoming severely ill. We can help stop the spread of COVID-19 by individuals getting vaccinated as soon as they can with the vaccine that is available,” said Shames.

Jackson County Public Health’s vaccination site at the Expo has been expanding its ability to administer doses, particularly with the addition of a FEMA-backed community vaccination clinic that opened this week. The original public health site continues to operate as a walk-through clinic offering the Moderna vaccine, while the FEMA clinic operates as a drive-through site providing the Pfizer vaccine.

“We are encouraging people to get vaccinated as soon as they can. Now that everyone 16 years and older is eligible to get the vaccine, this means that our community can have greater protection against COVID-19, slow the spread of this virus, and return to some of the activities we have been longing to enjoy,” said Tanya Phillips, health promotion manager for Jackson County Public Health.

Phillips stressed that the Expo site has “plenty of availability” for vaccinations. While appointments are encouraged, the walk-through Moderna clinic does not require them. The clinic is open until 6 p.m., Monday through Friday, with the last time slot at 5:45 p.m.

The Pfizer vaccine, offered at the drive-through site, is approved for people 16 and 17 years old. For the time being, the Moderna vaccine is approved for people 18 and older. Both sites have availability, Jackson County Public Health said.

Two latest fatalities bring Jackson County’s death toll from COVID-19 to 129. Both men had underlying health conditions. Officials said that they are also investigating a pair of workplace COVID-19 outbreaks. An investigation at the Murphy Softwood Veneer Plant that began on April 13 has produced nine linked cases, while a separate investigation at Goodwill that began on April 15 has found six cases. Both investigations are ongoing.

Where to get vaccinated in Jackson County

All COVID-19 Vaccine Providers listed below are following the state’s eligibility criteria. Preparing for your COVID-19 Vaccine Appointment. 

Jackson County Vaccination Equity Center at the Expo
The Expo Vaccination Center is a safe place open to all individuals eligible for a vaccination.Schedule an Appointment
Community COVID-19 Vaccination Clinic
This is a high-throughput vaccination clinic supported by Asante, Providence, and Jackson County Public Health located in Medford.  Anyone eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine per Oregon’s prioritization schedule can make an appointment at the Community COVID-19 Vaccination Clinic. Schedule an appointment by phone:
all 541-789-2813 and press option 2 for English and press option 3 for SpanishSchedule an appointment online by visiting https://www.asante.org/mychart/open-scheduling/
Jackson County Public Health
Schedule an appointment by visiting Jackson County Public Health COVID-19 Vaccine Appointments for the vaccination clinics at the Expo.
 La Clinica
If you are a patient of La Clinica, are uninsured, have no regular doctor, or speak primarily Spanish, you can call to schedule an appointment: 541-618-1300. https://laclinicahealth.org/services/medical/covid-19-vaccination/
Bi-Mart Pharmacy
Schedule an appointment by visiting https://www.bimart.com/pharmacy/covid-19-vaccine 
Fred Meyer Pharmacy
Schedule an appointment by filling out the COVID-19 Vaccine Appointment Scheduler or call 1-866-211-5320
Safeway/Albertsons
Find out about vaccine availability and schedule an appointment by using the online registration tool at Safeway/Albertsons Pharmacy COVID-19 Vaccine Page
Costco Pharmacy
Find out about vaccine availability and schedule an appointment by using the online registration tool at Costco COVID-19  Vaccine Page
Health Mart Pharmacies
Find out about vaccine availability and schedule an appointment by using the online registration tool at Health Mart COVID-19  Vaccine Page
Walmart
Find out about vaccine availability and schedule an appointment by using the online registration tool at https://www.walmart.com/cp/Immunizations-Flu-Shots/1228302
Walgreens Pharmacy
Schedule an appointment by visiting https://www.Walgreens.com
West Main Pharmacy
Schedule an appointment by visiting https://www.westmaincovidshots.com/
https://jacksoncountyor.org/hhs/General/News-Information/where-to-get-vaccinated-in-jackson-county

Sheriff’s Office State That White City Fire Resulted From An ‘Illegal Cannabis Extraction Process’

Jackson County Sheriff’s Office state that the major fire in White City on Wednesday night appears to have resulted from an illegal marijuana operation at the building on Antelope Road.

Sheriff’s deputies, firefighters, and paramedics responded to reports of an explosion and fire at the industrial building in the 1500-block of Antelope Road shortly after 8 p.m.

The first deputy at the scene found a man who appeared to have suffered burns. Two more men soon approached the same deputy, both suffering from serious burns.

JCSO said that all three men were treated by medical teams, with the two most seriously injured taken to OHSU in Portland for treatment. A fourth man was seen running from the building, and investigators are looking for him.

“The fire and explosions caused extensive building damage, impacted power and internet services in White City and the fire was near open fields in the Denman Game area behind the building,” the Sheriff’s Office said.

An initial investigation found evidence that the explosion and fire were the result of an “illegal cannabis extraction process,” the Sheriff’s Office said. The case is now being examined by the Interagency Marijuana Enforcement Team, JCSO, Fire District 3, and the Jackson County District Attorney’s Office.

JCSO said that investigators obtained a search warrant for the property, and it remains the site of an active investigation.

AROUND the STATE of OREGON

Oregon Department Of Corrections Sued For Charging Inmates For Medical Devices

A class action lawsuit has been filed claiming the Oregon Department of Corrections is violating the Americans with Disabilities Act because it charges prisoners with disabilities for prosthetics and other medical devices they need.

The suit was filed this week in federal court by Portland attorney Lynn Walsh and nonprofit legal organization Disability Rights Advocates.

The litigation aims to prevent the practice of charging people with disabilities in prison for health care appliances and durable medical equipment. In addition to preventing the practice in the future, the plaintiffs want the state to reimburse people.

The lead plaintiff, Donald Terrill, is imprisoned at the Snake River Correctional Institution in eastern Oregon, and was fitted with a prosthesis after a lower leg amputation eight years ago.

Since 2013, the Oregon Department of Corrections has garnished Terrill’s trust account. He’s paid more than $10,000 toward his own prosthetic leg and still owes another $14,000. He makes $45 per month working in prison.

“Because I am being charged for my prosthesis, I cannot buy much beyond toothpaste and deodorant, or save up for shoes,” Terrill said in a statement.

The Oregon Department of Corrections acknowledged adults in custody (AICs) are “generally required” to buy their own medical equipment “like hearing aids and prosthetics.”

“When AICs are released from custody, these items leave with the AIC because the equipment is not Department of Corrections property, but personal property,” Corrections spokeswoman Jennifer Black said. Medical items such as canes are supplied by Corrections and can be returned and used again, she said.

Terrill requires the prosthetic limb to get around the Snake River prison, according to the lawsuit. Without it, he said, he wouldn’t have access to the same programs and services in prison as inmates who are not disabled.

Oregon Senate Passes Bill To Track Deaths Of Homeless Oregonians

Senate Bill 850 passed the Oregon Senate on Wednesday on a 22-5 vote. Senator Deb Patterson (D-Salem) sponsored this bill to ensure that the state tracks the deaths of unhoused Oregonians.

“Requires that report of death for certain decedent who was homeless at time of death indicate that decedent’s residence address was “Domicile Unknown.”
https://olis.oregonlegislature.gov/liz/2021R1/Measures/Overview/SB850

“For the sake of those living and dying on our streets, we must accurately track data around the deaths of our houseless neighbors. A collective desire exists to address Oregon’s houseless crisis and provide shelter and care to our most vulnerable community members,” said Senator Patterson, who chairs the Senate Committee on Health Care.

Senate Bill 850 requires an unhoused person’s residence be marked “Domicile Unknown” at their time of death, allowing the state to better track information about all who call Oregonians home.

“By tracking this data, we can learn if the steps we are taking are working and we can prevent complacency. We cannot allow this crisis to feel normal or okay. We must remain vigilant and ready to act,” said Senator Patterson. “Most importantly, we must provide some humanity and dignity in death. By tracking the data we can learn about their full lives, we can become informed about their challenges, and honor the pain and grief of their loved ones.”

Multnomah County Chair Deborah Kafoury spoke in support of the bill at a public hearing. Multnomah County has produced an annual report entitled “Domicile Unknown” since 2011. That report reveals important demographic and statistical information, shares the stories of our neighbors and informs needed policy changes.

“Incredible advocates strive to support our vulnerable community members and I thank them for supporting this bill. This is indeed a somber piece of legislation, and it’s an important one. I’m hopeful it will inform future good work to prevent unnecessary death,” add Senator Patterson. Senate Bill 850 now goes to the House of Representatives for consideration.

Multiple Deaths on Hwy 101 Crash

Coos County Investigators made a public appeal for information after a driver reported to 911 for speeding and executing illegal u-turns on the Oregon Coast Highway 101 was involved in a crash which “tragically resulted in multiple fatalities,” the Coos County Sheriff’s Office said Thursday.

Dispatchers received multiple reports around 8 a.m. Thursday, April 22, reporting “a red Mitsubishi Eclipse bearing California license plate 4NDF245 being driven dangerously,” the sheriff’s office said.

“Reports indicated the vehicle travelling in the Bandon area, and included unlawful u-turns on the highway, excessive speeds and near collisions with other vehicles.”

According to the Coos County Sheriff’s Office, the vehicle involved had been reported in Curry County as early as 6:30 a.m., as far south as Gold Beach. At about 8:17 am, the vehicle was involved in a crash that tragically resulted in multiple fatalities on Highway 101 near mile marker 247.

They ask anyone with information about the red Mitsubishi Eclipse or who saw the vehicle between the hours of 7 a.m. and and 8:20 a.m. between Langlois and the intersection of Highway 101 and Highway 42 is asked to call the Coos County Dispatch non-emergency number at 541-396-2106.

“Please leave your name and a good contact number for investigating officers to return your call for a brief interview,” the sheriff’s office said. “Additional information may help piece together the events leading up to the crash.”

All lanes have since been reopened at milepost 248.5 following the investigation, about five miles south of the Oregon 42 junction.

Razor Clam Harvesting Opens on Part of Oregon Coast

The Oregon Department of Agriculture and the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife announce the opening of all razor clam harvesting from the north jetty of Coos Bay to Cape Arago.

Recent shellfish samples taken from the area indicate levels of the marine biotoxin domoic acid have fallen below the alert level for two consecutive sampling weeks.

Razor clam harvesting remains closed from the Columbia River to the north jetty of Coos Bay, and from Cape Arago to the California border.

Mussel, bay clam and crab harvesting remain open along the entire Oregon coast. Coastal scallops are not affected by biotoxin closures when only the adductor muscle is eaten. ODA does not recommend eating whole scallops. Commercial shellfish products remain safe for consumers. 

Paralytic shellfish toxin and domoic acid toxin are produced by algae and originate in the ocean. ODA will continue to test for shellfish toxins twice per month, as tides and weather permit. Reopening an area closed for biotoxins requires two consecutive tests with results below the closure limit. 

Contact ODFW for recreational license requirements, permits, rules and limits.

For more information call ODA’s shellfish biotoxin safety hotline at (800) 448-2474, the Food Safety Division at (503) 986-4720, or visit the ODA Shellfish Biotoxin Closures webpage.

Olympic Trials Ticketing Will Start Over Due to Pandemic

TrackTown USA has news for spectators of this summer’s U.S. Olympic Track and Field Trials in Eugene. CEO Michael Reilly said in a statement Thursday that based on Hayward Field’s capacity and current health protocols, they cannot honor the number of tickets already sold.

Website Brand Scape copy.jpg

All ticket holders will be refunded their money. TrackTown USA will announce new ticketing procedures in May, using updated COVID-19 safety regulations. 

Athletes will have first choice of seats and days, followed by those who have held tickets until this point. The statement says TrackTown USA will try to give as many people as possible an opportunity to attend at least one day of the 10-day event.

Those who’ve paid for tickets will be contacted with details about next steps. The U.S. Track and Field Olympic Team Trials are scheduled for June 18th to 27th.   — https://www.gotracktownusa.com/

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