Air Quality Expected to Improve; Latest COVID-19 Reports; Helping Displaced Families

Air Quality Alert Extended -Update

Poor air quality is still an issue for the Florence/Mapleton area.  Current air conditions are listed as unhealthy and that is expected to continue through most of the day today.  The Air Quality Index has been updated to show an AQI currently of 169.  The Lane Regional Air Protection agency and the Oregon Department of environmental Quality  released a report extending the current Air Quality Alert until at least Thursday according to LRAPA public affairs manager Travis Knudsen.  Conditions are expected to improve throughout the week as a weather front, bringing moisture to the area, moves in for this evening.  All around the state smoke from multiple fires is affecting health and travel.  The Oregon Health Authority is recommending that people stay in their homes and limit activities until the air quality improves.  Fires continue to rage out of control.  The Echo Mountain fire to the north in Lincoln County has burned 2500 acres and firefighters are trying to establish containment lines around the fire, but dense brush is hampering their efforts.  The Holiday Farm fire is beginning to see some improvements in conditions, but authorities have closed 126 east of Springfield until Belknap Springs and Highway 20 is closed west of the Santiam Pass.

Latest COVID-19 Reports

The weekend totals from the Oregon Health Authority on the COVID-19 pandemic was 693  the three day total from Friday until Monday included 13 deaths including 2 new deaths for Lane County.  A 96 year old woman and an 82 year old man both suffered from underlying health conditions.  Both deaths were more than  a week ago, but were added to the list over the weekend.  Here in Lane County there were 29 new reported cases for the same period.  There are currently 50 cases considered infectious in the county and a total of 841 cases since monitoring began.  There are 28,865 cases statewide and the death toll is at 499.

Helping Displaced Families

City Manager Erin Reynolds on Friday said the City of Florence is in constant communication with their partners around the county including Lane County Public Health and the Western Lane Emergency Operations to ensure safety in the area.  Reynolds says often times work goes on behind the scenes to prepare for responses to emergencies and until an emergency exists you may not know the amount of preparatory work that has gone into providing safety.  The City has been dealing with the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and also the current crisis with fires around the state brining evacuees into the Florence Area.  Megan Messmer, with the city, says they have been getting calls on how the community can help, she says the Red Cross is one way, but they are looking for monetary contributions rather than food, blankets and traditional supplies.  The Red Cross, due to the coronavirus pandemic is operating a little differently.

“They’re not standing up traditional shelter locations, they’re putting people at RV Parks, in Hotels, so they need funds to help pay for those accommodations.”

Siuslaw Outreach Services is also working on providing items and donations for those displaced by the fires.