No Coastal State Parks to Open
The Oregon Coast is still off limits when it comes to recreation. Oregon Gov. Kate Brown has announced a limited opening of some state parks, outdoor recreation facilities, and other areas for day use in a partial easing of restrictions put in place because of the coronavirus. The Oregon Parks and Recreation Department says the parks opening this week include: Tryon Creek in Portland; Willamette Mission north of Keizer; Mongold boat ramp at Detroit Lake; State Capitol State Park in Salem and Pilot Butte in Bend, which will open to pedestrians, among others. Officials say day-use will slowly return to other state parks starting next week. Brown says Oregonians should recreate responsibly to protect the health, wellness, and safety of themselves and others. Locally state parks will have to wait as fears of masses of quarantined people would like flee the cities for the coast. County parks like the North Jetty area remain open and tomorrow evening the Port of Siuslaw will determine whether or not to open the boat ramp, but that has some consequences with the restrictions in place due to the virus.
OHA Adds Zip Code Tracing
The Oregon Health Authority’s weekly update has been updated to include zip code verification of cases of COVID-19. The 97439 zip code is still showing zero as the number of cases in the Florence area. The number of Coronavirus tests administered in Lane County is in excess of 4,313 with 55 positive results. Some communities are starting to roll out antibody testing. These tests are administered to see if someone has had the coronavirus, but Dr. Bob Pelz, Infectious Disease Specialist with PeaceHealth and member of the Governor’s coronavirus team says these tests are still young in their development and may not completely differentiate between COVID-19 and other more common coronaviruses.
”It’s also possible that some of these community corona virsuses will cause a false positive test so it will look like somebody is immune to the coronavirus when they have simply been exposed to one of the coronaviruses that cause the common cold.”
Pelz also said there is not enough data to know if once is all you can get COVID-19. That will take time and further data.
Lane Community College Learns About Distance Learning
Lane Community College is learning a lot about distance learning during the coronavirus pandemic. School President Marge Hamilton says that going into spring break all staff and faculty went through an immersive 2 week training that brought everyone up to speed on how to operate through online learning. Prior to the pandemic, some courses were offered online, but a majority of courses were still classroom based and that meant bringing everyone up to speed. Hamilton says the biggest hurdle they’re finding is not in administering the classes, but in the connections to the internet.
“Their wi-fi is spotty and weak and depending on where they live so we’re still struggling with that part.”
The struggles include all of the LCC campus areas. Hamilton says Eugene is experiencing some of the difficulties that more rural areas, like West Lane County have encountered. Hamilton says that the lessons learned through this will carry through long after the affects of the virus have passed with a renewed focus on the possibilities through online learning.
Gas Prices Show Some Decline
Gas prices in Oregon have dipped again, dropping another 4 cents a gallon this past week according to AAA Oregon spokesperson Marie Dodds. Florence’s average price per gallon of regular gas is at $2.28 while some states are experiencing prices below a dollar a gallon. Crude oil prices are starting to rebound a little with prices in the mid $20’s per barrel, but movement this morning could put that in jeopardy as the nation’s supply glut continues to weigh heavily on producers.