Florence COVID-19 Numbers Hamper In-Class Instruction; Winners Give Thanks; New COVID-19 Numbers; Special Council Meeting

Florence COVID-19 Numbers Hamper In-Class Instruction

The sporadic climb in COVID-19 cases in Florence over recent weeks is one reason that the governor’s recent change in how the metrics are looked at will likely not help Siuslaw and Mapleton Schools return to in-class instruction any time soon.  At 34 cases which include 3 new cases this past weekend it puts Florence above the number deemed safe to return to school.  Superintendent of Siuslaw Schools Andy Grzeskowiak says while we had smaller numbers, by percentage we mimicked the rest of the county.

“When you take the per hundred thousand count and boil that down to the Florence area in kind of per ten thousand count we were on pace in late September and early October with 2 0r three cases per week so we were matching the regular county rate.”

Grzeskowiak says what the new way of calculating the metrics does is to allow schools that do begin in-class instruction to not have to shut down based on a single or multi week change in cases, a problem that has been plaguing some schools trying to restart.  He does say that they hope to have come sort of in-class instruction by mid-December barring any extreme changes.

Winners Give Thanks

Former Siuslaw Schools Administrator teacher and local businessman Boomer Wright will represent the 9th district in the Oregon House of Representatives.  Wright says he looks forward to getting to work in Salem.

“It all comes down to people working together for what’s important for Oregonians and that’s all I want to do up there is just make sure that the coastal voice is heard and in particular rural Oregonians are listened to.”

Wright said he was thankful for all of the support from the coastal communities throughout his district.  Another winner in Tuesday’s election was Joe Henry.  Henry will serve another two year term as Florence’s mayor.  Henry said it is time to move forward and begin repairing things that have been damaged.

“It is going to require that, once the new council is seated, that reevaluate our council rules, have a firm understanding and agreement on how we are going to behave as elected officials and how we’re going to treat each other and if we can’t agree and commit to that we are destined to a repeat of the last two years.

Two new faces will also be on the City Council.  Sally Wantz and Bill Meyer were the top two vote getters.  Meyer said of the victory that the experience was humbling.

“I feel very positive about the council that is coming in and worked with Sally over the years and naturally mayor Joe I’ve worked with him and Woody, I am just encouraged that we are going to have a good productive council.”

Congressman Peter DeFazio thanked his constituents yesterday for their support in returning him for yet another term in the U.S. House of representatives.  Defazio said it was the most expensive congressional campaign in Oregon’s history, and not because of him, but due to the money his opponent spent.

“Big shoutout to all my friends, supporters, and volunteers.  We mounted an effort beyond belief.  We turned the people out, we beat the money…I am so thankful to all of you.”

DeFazio said that he hopes that when the coronavirus pandemic is over that he can have a celebratory event to personally thank his supporters.

New COVID-19 Numbers

There were no new coronavirus cases reported for the Florence area in yesterday’s daily report from Lane County Public Health.  There were 24 new cases in total for Lane County which was part of another heavy day for cases statewide.  597 new cases were reported yesterday bringing the state total to 47.049.  4 new deaths were also reported bringing that total to 705.  Oregon is reporting highest weekly case count since the beginning of the pandemic.  Last week saw a 34% spike in cases.  There have been two straight weeks of record amounts of new cases.  New cases include a workplace outbreak at the Fred Meyer Distribution center in Clackamas County where 39 cases were reported.  The initial outbreak was reported on October 22, but there were not enough cases at that time to consider it an outbreak, but rising cases over the past 10 days has caused the change.

Special Council Meeting

The Florence city Council will hold a special meeting on Monday November 9th to consider an appeal of the Rhododendron Drive Planned Unit Development.  Because it is a special meeting, public comments will not be permitted, although the public can view the meeting through the city’s gotowebinar platform.  The meeting will begin at 5:30 Monday evening.