Merrill, Ore. – While the Coronavirus poses a serious threat to large cities, rural areas aren’t immune to the virus.
Family Nurse Practitioner Michael Sheets operates clinics in Bonanza and Merrill.
He says he has no way to know for certain if he’s seen any patients with Coronavirus.
“The big problem right now is we have no access to laboratory testing in rural areas.” Explains Sheets. “It’s all being sent to hospitals.”
While Merrill is a rural area, that doesn’t mean it’s totally isolated.
“We have lots of truck traffic out here.” Sheets points out. “For taking potatoes and hay down to the Bay area, and up to Seattle – the trucks run back and forth up I-5.”
There’s still toilet paper on the shelves at Martin’s Food Center.
Owner Martin Hicks says while there’s no panic shopping, he’s still taking preventative measures to keep shoppers healthy. “We’re sanitizing shopping cart handles and counters on a regular basis, door handles, stuff like that.”
Sheets says he’s worked through plenty of epidemics in his 39 years of practice, and he sees no reason to panic now – even if this situation is different.
“We take care of people.” Sheets notes of his open door policy. “We stay here, we don’t leave, we don’t do appointments – the door’s always open.”
Sheets say he hopes to have Coronavirus testing equipment available next week at his clinics in Merrill, and Bonanza.
KOTI-TV NBC2 reporter Lyle Ahrens moved from Nebraska to Klamath Falls in the late 1970’s. He instantly fell in love with the mountains, the trees and the rivers, and never once regretted the move.Lyle’s job history is quite colorful.
He’s managed a pizza parlor; he’s been a bartender, and a “kiwifruit grader” at an organic orchard in New Zealand. A Klamath Falls radio station hired Lyle in the mid 90’s as a news writer and commercial producer. In 2004, Lyle joined the KOTI/KOBI news operation.Lyle notes with pride that he has a big responsibility presenting the Klamath Basin to a wide and varied audience.
“The on-going water crisis has underscored the fact that the people and the issues in the Klamath Basin are every bit as diverse as the terrain. Winning and keeping the trust of the viewers, as well as the newsmakers, is something I strive for with each story”.
When he’s not busy reporting the news, Lyle enjoys astronomy, playing guitar, fixing old radios and listening to anything by Sheryl Crow.