The rumble of the engines of two Oregon Air National Guard F-15 Eagles filled the Madras and Warm Springs skies on Friday, May 22. The planes flew over St. Charles Madras and the Warm Springs Health and Wellness Center as a "salute to Oregonians on the forefront of the COVID-19 pandemic, lift community morale during a time of severe health and economic impacts, and remember those brave service members who have paid the ultimate price for our freedom," a press release from the Oregon Military Department said.
Stefanie Artz, an X-ray technician at St. Charles Madras, waited for the flyover with other staff in the parking lot.
"We really appreciate the little things," she said. "Not only do we appreciate it, the whole community appreciates it."
She said COVID-19 has made her more grateful for her health and the other staff, who she said are like a family.
"It's brought everything into perspective," she said. "It's been trying, but it's been good."
She said she and other staff are grateful that they can help in what has been a difficult time for so many.
After the planes headed for Warm Springs, one St. Charles employee said, "That gave me goosebumps," as she headed back to work.
The flyovers, which have been conducted across the state, are a joint effort between Oregon 173rd Fighter Wing, which is based in Klamath Falls, and the 142nd Wing, which is based in Portland. They were done in lieu of regularly scheduled training and counted as part of the minimum number of flight hours pilots must perform each month.
COVID-19 in Jefferson County
While the tri-county area has not been as affected by COVID-19 as other areas in the state, the past month saw a significant rise followed by a plateau in cases in Jefferson County.
On April 29, the county had six confirmed cases of COVID-19. That number has risen to 24.
Reports of where those cases are and how many people have recovered aren't exact, but data from the Oregon Health Authority and news releases from the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs shed some light on the data.
On Friday, May 22, the tribes' director of government affairs and planning, Louie Pitt Jr., reported that Warm Springs had 17 total positive cases and that 17 had recovered. Not all of the tribes' cases are in Jefferson County; at least one was reported in Wasco County.
The Oregon Military Department's Office of Emergency Management reports that there are 24 cumulative cases of COVID-19 in Jefferson County, and five have recovered.
According to the Oregon Health Authority, people are considered to have recovered the third day after they have no symptoms. The statewide median for recovery is 20 days for people who didn't need hospitalization and 24 for those who did.
Both the Culver and Madras ZIP codes are listed as having one to nine cases each.
Terrebonne's ZIP code includes Crooked River Ranch, and part of the code is in Deschutes County. It also has one to nine cases.
The Oregon Health Authority does not give specific numbers by ZIP code unless there are 10 or more positive cases. It lumps ZIP codes with less than 1,000 people together — there are 142 cases in all of them — and there are 14 cases where the person's ZIP code isn't known.
Neighboring counties and Oregon
Deschutes County is down to 49 cases, with 71 people having recovered.
And Crook County, which for weeks had just one case, saw an increase over the weekend; it now has four active cases, with one recovered.
The tri-county area has had no deaths from COVID-19.
As of May 19, across the state, 40.7% of people with COVID-19 were known to have contact with someone who had also tested positive; 20.7% lived in a congregate setting such as a long-term care facility, group home, prison or shelter; 15.8% were health care workers; 12.7% had traveled outside of their home area; and 52.4% had underlying conditions.
Symptoms across the state
While 7.8% with COVID-19 didn't have symptoms statewide as of May 19, 82.4% did; officials aren't sure about the other 8%.
The most common symptom was a cough, followed by muscle aches, headache, fever, chills, shortness of breath, sore throat, runny nose, loss of smell, diarrhea, nausea, pneumonia, abdominal pain and vomiting.
Warm Springs stays closed
While Jefferson County has entered Phase 1 of its reopening, Warm Springs Tribal Council has decided "that the reservation is still stay home-stay safe," Pitt said.
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