Local News That Matters

UPDATES: Salem-Keizer continues with extracurricular activities

January 6, 2022 at 3:44pm

Learn how to adapt your garden to climate change during Friday talk

A volunteer breaks up the roots of a fern before planting. (Saphara Harrell/ Salem Reporter)

Urban growers wanting to learn more about planting for climate change can do so on Friday.

Marion Soil and Water Conservation District holds monthly first Friday events to teach about composting or plant identification.

The hourlong event starts at 10 a.m. on Jan. 7. Registration is online and is free.

Weston Miller, an assistant professor of horticulture at Oregon State University, will teach eventgoers about “Climate and How to Plant for the Future.”

Miller will present strategies to adapt yards and gardens to new climates as there’s more weather variability and intense weather events.

“How will these extreme events affect your plants? Learn strategies to adapt your yard and garden to these new conditions,” an event description said. 

-Saphara Harrell

January 6, 2022 at 1:23pm

OHA reports no new cases of drug-resistant infection following outbreak at Salem Hospital

Salem Hospital (Amanda Loman/Salem Reporter)

The Oregon Health Authority said Thursday they have found no new cases of Candida auris since the fungal infection was found in three patients at Salem Hospital in December.

The cases were the first ever identified in Oregon, and were of concern because the yeast is often resistant to multiple antifungal drugs.

The agency said in a news release Thursday afternoon that patients who were transferred from affected units at Salem Hospital to other health care facilities have so far tested negative.

“We are happy to report that as of Jan. 4, the total number of patients in whom Candida auris has been detected remains at three,” Dr. Dat Tran, medical director for OHA's Healthcare-Associated Infections Program, said in the news release.

The first patient was identified at Salem Hospital Dec. 11 and had multiple hospitalizations abroad, where they likely acquired the infection, hospital officials said. Salem Health spokeswoman Lisa Wood said the hospital confirmed the case on Dec. 17.

Two other hospital patients then tested positive for the yeast, the release said. They were identified on Dec. 23 and Dec. 27.

-Ardeshir Tabrizian

January 6, 2022 at 1:05pm

UPDATED: Power restored in NE Salem; classes canceled at Chemeketa, Hayesville, McKay

Students walk outside of the new building at McKay High School on Friday, Oct. 8, 2021. (Amanda Loman/Salem Reporter)

About 3,000 households and businesses in northeast Salem were without power for several hours Thursday, forcing several local schools to cancel classes.

The outage was reported at 10:45 a.m. and was due to an equipment failure, according to Portland General Electric's outage map.

The failure was due to a malfunction, utility spokeswoman Andrea Platt said. Crews were able to restore power at 1:30 p.m., earlier than expected, by switching to deliver power from another source while repairs continue, she said.

The outage included McKay High School and Hayesville Elementary School. Students at both schools were being dismissed early because of the amount of time needed to restore power, district spokesman Aaron Harada said.

After school activities at McKay were canceled.

Parents at the schools have were notified. At Hayesville, students were using flashlights in classrooms and other back-up lights, according to an announcement to parents. All students are safe at both schools.

Chemeketa Community College said on Twitter that it would cancel all classes until 4 p.m. due to the outage at its Salem campus.

-Rachel Alexander

January 6, 2022 at 10:21am

Salem-Keizer won't pause sports, extracurriculars despite state warnings

School sports and other after-school activities will continue at local schools despite a state warning this week that such activities will likely contribute to a spike in new Covid cases that may force students to miss in-person class.

"If schools and other organizations proceed with extracurricular activities, especially as these activities move indoors and individuals are unmasked, they should expect rapid transmission of COVID-19 that will prevent students from participating in in-person learning due to isolation for those that contract COVID-19 and lengthy quarantines for those that come into close contact with infected individuals," the Monday advisory from the Oregon Department of Education said. "This risk should be clearly communicated to families participating in these extracurricular activities."

The department recommended schools either pause extracurricular activities or use the same Covid mitigation practices in place during the school day, including requiring masks or face coverings, and screening or diagnostic testing.

Currently, students are not required to wear masks or face coverings while playing sports or performing in theater, choir and other productions. Masks must be worn on the sidelines and when students are not actively playing or performing.

In a letter to parents Tuesday, Christy Perry, Superintendent of Salem-Keizer Public Schools, said activities would continue.

"Currently, we are continuing with our extracurricular activities and are reviewing protocols and safety measures. We will continue to prioritize consistent safety practices for student participants, coaches, staff and spectators, just as we have been doing," her email said. "Families should be aware of the increased risk of transmission of COVID-19 during extracurricular events, which could result in students needing to quarantine. Any changes or adjustments to our protocols for students and/or spectators will be shared with families."

-Rachel Alexander