KWSO News for Thu., Oct. 15, 2020

Yesterday the Warm Springs Reservation reduced fire danger levels however moderate fire danger remains in community areas.  There is still a burn ban in place – less for fire danger and more to keep air quality good for folks with respiratory issues.  Poor air quality contributes to respiratory problems for those with Covid-19.

Influenza (Flu) and COVID-19 are both contagious respiratory illnesses, but they are caused by different viruses. Because some of the symptoms of flu and COVID-19 are similar, it may be hard to tell the difference between them based on symptoms alone. Flu and COVID-19 share many characteristics, but there are some key differences between the two.  COVID-19 seems to spread more easily than flu and causes more serious illnesses in some people.  It can also take longer before people show symptoms and people can be contagious for longer. Another important difference is there is a vaccine to protect against flu. There is currently no vaccine to prevent COVID-19.

  • Today there is a flu vaccination clinic in the Agency Longhouse Parking Lot from 1:30-3:30 and again from 4-6pm.  There is also a Flu Shot Clinic scheduled for the Seekseequa Fire Hall today from 10am – 2pm.
  • The best way to prevent infection is to avoid being exposed to the virus with good hand washing and all the precautions we are following.  To protect yourself from getting the flu – get a flu vaccine.

Yesterday, Oregon election officials started mailing ballots to every registered voter in the state for the November 3rd General Election. Now is the time to review the Voters’ Pamphlet and decide how you will return your ballot. Voters’ pamphlets have arrived in the mail and can also be found online in multiple formats.  If returning your ballot by mail, no postage stamp is necessary because postage has been pre-paid by the state. The Oregon Secretary of State recommends mailing ballots by Tuesday, October 27th. All ballots must be received in an official dropbox or at county election offices by 8 p.m. on November 3rd, postmarks do not count. Dropbox locations across the state can be found online at

After nearly 22 years as Oregon’s 2nd District representative, Greg Walden is retiring from Congress. That leaves a race without an incumbent this year for the massive eastern district that covers more than half the state. Jefferson Public Radio’s Erik Neumann has more on the two leading candidates vying for the seat.

A third candidate for Congressional District 2 is libertarian candidate Robert Werch from Grants Pass

Each October, open enrollment begins for Medicare Advantage and Part D prescription drug plans. Medicare plans and drug formularies change each year, so it is important for Oregonians who are enrolled in Medicare to evaluate their plan options and make changes during open enrollment, which is today until December 7th.   “In normal times, Medicare is a complex program,” said Chiqui Flowers, Oregon Health Insurance Marketplace and Senior Health Insurance Benefits Assistant administrator. “During the COVID-19 pandemic, open enrollment will be harder to navigate, but we are available to serve beneficiaries and we’ll get through this hard time together.”  Help is available remotely by phone, email, and web meeting counseling sessions.  Counselors can help Oregonians navigate the Plan Finder Tool to enter prescriptions and compare the cost and benefits of individual drug plans, provide enrollment guidance, and answer any other questions related to Medicare benefits.  Find local help by calling 800-722-4134 (toll-free) or visiting

Around this time of each year, the Oregon Department of Education releases a treasure trove of data on the state’s public schools. But once again, 2020 makes routine events anything but normal. With the coronavirus pandemic shutting down in-person learning, the usual accountability metrics such as standardized testing scores, attendance and class sizes are all out the window. This year’s report cards offer little in the way of new data.  Oregon Public Broadcasting reports that Oregon’s top educator said it could be a while before we get back to collecting key metrics about the health and performance of our schools.