KWSO News for Tue., May 4, 2021

The Warm Springs community COVID-19 positivity rate for last week was 7.98%.  For the month of April the testing positivity rate was 2.69%.  The rate for March was 1.20%

With cases on the rise and vaccination rates slowing – the John Hopkins Center for American Indian Health, working with the Squaxin Island Tribe, the Chehalis Tribe and the Northwest Portland Area Indian Health Board – creating some messaging encouraging vaccination.   Check out the video HERE

Warm Springs public health reminds everyone to continue to practice protective measures like wearing a face mask and maintaining social distance from others as well as getting vaccinated.  Anyone who lives or works in Warm Springs or their families or anyone IHS eligible can get a COVID-19 vaccine at the Health and Wellness Center.  Call 541-553-2131 for an appointment.

The Office of State Fire Marshal wants to remind Oregonians that can protect your home and community from wildfire by preparing now for fire season.  The most significant risk of structures catching fire during a wildland fire event is from the advancing ember shower that can reach your property long before an actual flame front. Good defensible space can not only prevent ember ignition of your home, but it can also prevent the flames from reaching your home at all.  Move any flammable material away from exterior walls (and that includes firewood.) Remove anything stored underneath decks or porches.   Give your home a 5 foot perimeter making sure nothing in that area can burn.  And keep lawns and native grasses mowed to a height of four inches.

Oregon state officials have designed a new emergency alert system that would operate statewide and, ideally, improve communication in the event of a disaster. J-P-R’s Sydney Dauphinais reports that many people affected by last year’s wildfires didn’t receive emergency alerts, leaving them scrambling to evacuate safely. The new system, called OR Alert, would operate statewide, which would ensure that alerts get automatically sent out to devices across Oregon.  State Representative Pam Marsh says technology in the new alert system would be implemented more broadly than current notifications saying “It’s one thing to have the availability of technology. It’s another thing to have it integrated into our emergency response systems and have it assigned to the right person or persons so that it’s actually used when it needs to be used.” Marsh says that OR Alert would fill in the gaps where counties run short. It’s an opt-out system, meaning Oregonians won’t need to sign up to get the notifications. She expects the system to be running by the start of this year’s wildfire season.