Rogue Valley has faced COVID, fires … again – Medford News, Weather, Sports, Breaking News

In 2021, COVID-19 increased as vaccines became available, reconstruction from the fires of September 2020 began, and we have had one of the hottest summers on record.

Here’s a look back at 10 of the best stories from the past year.

Nurses describe their work in the ICU

Jamie Lusch / Mail Tribune Holly McEwan, RN ICU nurse, left and Josh Eckroth, RN ICU nurse, treat COVID-19 patients at Asante Rogue Regional Medical Center on Tuesday.

Jamie Lusch / Mail Tribune Justin Bullen of Central Point receives a Moderna vaccine on Monday at the Jackson County Expo.

Protesters gather outside the Jackson County Exposition ahead of a public hearing regarding the Jordan Cove pipeline on Tuesday. Jamie Lusch / Mail Tribune

The delta variant wave in late summer hit Rogue Valley hard, with 200 or more COVID-19 patients hospitalized at a time. With no beds available, hospitals were forced to delay surgeries and treatments that were unrelated to the coronavirus.

Nurses who work in intensive care at the Asante Rogue Regional Medical Center described the frontlines to the Mail Tribune on August 31.

“With COVID-19, the lung damage is so severe. It is unlike anything I have ever seen, ”said Holly McEwan, a registered nurse.

With 20 patients on ventilators at the time, hospital workers had reached a breaking point of no longer having to spend 12 to 16 hours a day in full personal protective equipment to keep them alive.

“Across the hospital, we are doing everything we can for your family members and we need help right now. We need people to find it in their hearts to get vaccinated and wear a mask, ”McEwan said. “I don’t want the community to be as sad as the nurses, but I want them to understand.

Vaccines available

As the pandemic entered its second year in 2021, Jackson County swung between extreme and high risk categories, leaving indoor restaurants and entertainment venues in limbo. The vaccines offered hope.

Healthcare workers were the first to receive the vaccine in late 2020, and by mid-April 2021, all Oregonians 16 and older were eligible to receive their two-dose Pfizer or Moderna injections or the Johnson & Johnson version at single injection.

Jordan Cove dies

A saga that has spanned over a decade ended in early December, when Pembina disconnected a 229-mile pipeline project that many southern Oregon landowners had strongly opposed.

Originally proposed in 2009 to import liquefied natural gas from Asia, the project promoters changed their plan a few years later and would export Canadian gas to Asia.

Pembina said he had agreements for the use of the majority of the land along the route, but landowners who did not want the 3-foot-diameter pipeline to cross their land feared they would be forced to cross. an eminent domain.

Labor Day 2020 Fire Updates

On May 8 – eight months after the Almeda fire – talented couple Carole and Alan Balzer made the news as the first people to move into their reconstructed home.

The three bedroom home has high ceilings and views of Roxy Ann Peak and is a short distance from the town center.

It is estimated that 2,500 homes were lost in the Almeda fire, while around 150 structures burned down in the South Obenchain fire.

Early termination of TID

Amid a drought and with reservoirs at historically low levels, the Talent irrigation district was closed on July 19. Typically, the TID runs for three months from June to August. In 2021, it ran for six weeks.

The cut-off date came well ahead of the harvest season for hemp, marijuana, wine grapes and pears.

It could take up to six years to fill the tanks, or as little as “two to three years if we get years of influx well above normal as we experienced in 1993, 1995 or 2016” said U.S. Bureau of Reclamation civil engineer Jon Rocha. the Courier Tribune.

Fire season

After a record 160 days, the fire season ended on Oct. 20 in the southwestern Oregon district of the Oregon Forest Department. Despite being the longest fire season in history, authorities say it was a success.

The district extinguished 337 fires totaling 389 acres on the private and United States Bureau of Land Management property it protects in Jackson and Josephine counties.

The largest was the 60-acre North River Road fire near the town of Rogue River.

115 degrees

Of course, it was a Monday when Medford tied their all-time heat record.

On June 28, local thermostats hit 115 degrees for the first time in 75 years. Fortunately, it didn’t last long. The wind picked up and brought the temperature down to 109.

Vaccine mandate

When Governor Brown demanded that all healthcare workers, first responders and teachers be vaccinated against COVID-19 by October 18, many foreigners believed it would cause a mass exodus of workers from Jackson County , even causing the declaration of the council of commissioners a state of emergency during the mandate.

When October 18 arrived, Asante said 87% of its employees were in compliance, while Providence claimed 94% of its employees had received a vaccine or the required medical or religious exemption.

Schools in the area had a higher percentage of compliance. Of the more than 1,500 workers in the Medford School District, only 32 have not received an exemption or vaccine.

True crime

True crime lovers have been treated to stories from southern Oregon on television and other media.

The Oxygen Snapped Network show featured two Jackson County murder stories. First, the 2015 trial of Susan Monica, who murdered two handymen on her property in Wimer and fed them to her pigs. Then months later, the show documented Tucker Reed killing his uncle in 2016 in Ruch.

The Reed case was also aired on NBC’s Dateline television show and podcast.

COVID-19 restrictions

With a sufficient number of Oregonians receiving a vaccine shot, Governor Kate Brown fully reopened the state in late June, removing distancing and mask requirements as the daily number of cases across the country State was diminishing.

It was short-lived, however. When the delta variant swept through the population over the summer, the governor reinstated mask requirements on August 13.