KWSO News Thu., Dec. 24, 2020

There were 7 new cases of COVID-19 reported for Warm Springs in Wednesday’s Community COVID-19 Update (12/23/20).  Those results were from 60 tests conducted on Tuesday (12/22/20). There were 42 active cases of COVID-19 on the Reservation and 106 close contacts being monitored daily. 655 cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in Warm Springs since testing began. There have been a total of 13 this week.

Warm Springs Public Utilities has issued a temporary water shut off notice for the Wolfe Point area effective Monday, December 28th from 8am to 5pm. This is for work in the Wolf Point subdivision in order to isolate the South Kah-Nee-Ta PRV station. The installation could require 8 hours to complete so residents should be prepared for no water during that time. Installation of this isolation valve will ensure that the residences will NOT be affected by work scheduled at the South Kah-Nee-Ta PRV station.

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — Oregon Gov. Kate Brown is easing statewide restrictions placed on school districts with the goal of more students returning to in-person instruction by February. The governor’s announcement Wednesday came despite an ongoing state surge in the number of people diagnosed with the coronavirus. Brown’s office says starting Jan. 1, the governor’s instructions for returning to school will be “advisory rather than mandatory.” The governor said moving forward, the decision to resume in-person instruction must be made locally, district by district, school by school. The governor said earlier this week educators and school staff will be prioritized for COVID-19 vaccines.

Oregon is following a national trend that has seen increases in drug overdose deaths in 2020 – a rise that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is partially attributing to the COVID-19 pandemic. Oregon Health Authority says Oregon’s 580 deaths from drug overdoses are among the more than 81,000 drug overdose deaths that occurred in the United States in the 12 months ending in May 2020. According to a Dec. 17 report from the CDC, that was the highest number of overdose deaths ever recorded in a 12-month period. The federal agency surmised that the “disruption to daily life due to the COVID-19 pandemic  has hit those with substance use disorder hard.” OHA also cites food insecurity, disruptions in access to safe housing  and mental health services, stress from job losses, school and social isolation as contributing factors. While most overdose deaths in Oregon in 2020 have involved opioids, illicit fentanyl, a synthetic opioid, and methamphetamines have been troubling contributors to the drug overdose rate, mirroring national trends.

Warm Springs Sanitation says Thursday garbage pickup routes will be on schedule this week however, this Friday’s route will be picked up on Saturday, instead of Friday. Neighborhoods affected are: Upper Dry Creek, Tmsh, Salmon Dr., Sunnyside, Wolfe Point, Rattlesnake Springs, Hamlets and Charley Canyon – they will all be picked up on Saturday instead of Friday as originally advertised. Next week, all Friday routes will be picked up on Thursday due to the New Year’s holiday.

In a year of physical isolation, virtual connections have kept many traditions going. In Warm Springs, the school’s annual winter concert went entirely online. Emily Cureton reports: