New health survey shows Klamath County trends heading into the pandemic

KLAMATH FALLS, Ore. – An annual health survey was released showing public health in Klamath County could be improving.

The annual survey ranks counties in a variety of categories and also shows statewide and nationwide results.

This year’s results are particularly interesting because the data collected is from 2020, the year the pandemic began.

Klamath county took some steps forward with only 16% of adults reporting poor or fair health compared to 22% the year before.

Drug overdose deaths were also down significantly according to the data, cut in half from 41 per 100,000 in population in the previous year’s survey, down to 20, this in the year 2020.

A worrying trend, however, is the amount of poor mental health days in a given month.

That figure staying consistent at 5.1 days right before or at the beginning of the pandemic.

According to Klamath Public Health, this shows that some county residents could have gone into the pandemic already dealing with significant mental health concerns.

“What we’re seeing is people were having some mental concerns before we even went into the pandemic, and if we’re not careful, we just need to be helping people remember that we’ve got support systems, and if they need to talk about things that there are people that they can be connected with,” Klamath County Public Health Public Information Officer Valeree Lane said.

Lane also mentioned the importance of the decrease in single-parent households in Klamath County because of the amount of stress it can add to kids in those environments.

The county is tied with the nationwide rate of 25% and is down from 34% just a few years ago.

While it is unclear how much of the survey was conducted before the first Covid case in March of 2020, Lane said that next year’s survey will be especially telling because all data will be from during the pandemic.

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Ethan McReynolds is a reporter and weekend anchor for NBC5 News. He grew up in Bothell, Washington and graduated from Gonzaga University with a degree in Broadcasting and minors in Journalism and Sport Management. At Gonzaga, he started his own sports podcast. Ethan loves rooting for his hometown Seattle sports teams, especially the Mariners. He loves playing baseball, basketball, and soccer. He is also an avid Taylor Swift fan.
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