More Coronavirus Cases for Florence; Weekly Numbers Trend Down; SOS Releases Numbers; Chia Seeds Expand On Coast in Florence;

More Coronavirus Cases for Florence

The effect of the coronavirus continues to grow in Florence.  Yesterday another 2 cases were confirmed by Lane County Public Health making the total 73.  Cases have been steadily rising over the past several weeks.  There were 9 new cases this week for Florence which translates into a rate of 220 per 10 thousands according to Lane County Public Health.  A rate that is currently the second highest to other zip codes around the county.  According to the numbers there is only one case currently listed in the LatinX category.  Health officials continue to stress the need for safe practices and for staying away from traveling and from large social gatherings.  Because of rules that prohibit naming individuals, it is difficult to know who has the virurs, and therefore the increase in community spread is the most likely way the virus is being transmitted.  According to published reports an infected person can have the virus for several days without showing symptoms and a small group may also show no symptoms while carrying the virus.

Weekly Numbers Trend Down

The Oregon Health Authority has released its weekly numbers for the coronavirus.  This is the second straight week of declining cases for COVID-19, but it only adds up to about a 5% decrease.  There were 8,745 new cases for the past week and an 11% decline in hospitalizations.  Some of the decrease in overall numbers could be due in part to a 6.3% decrease in tests administered.  The weekly report also show that the majority of people being infected continues to happen in the 20-49 age population.  In the OHA daily report released last night there were 1,000 new cases reported, 79 of those were in Lane County.  The statewide total of cases to date is 105,970.  OHA is also reporting that 2,449 doses of the vaccine were administered yesterday.  As of last night more than 10,400 people have been immunized.  Peace Harbor Hospital begins their vaccinations to health staff today.

SOS Releases Numbers

The rate of domestic violence has seen a dramatic increase in the Florence area.  A report out yesterday by Siuslaw Outreach Services says that there have been 478 incidents of domestic violence an increase of 47% over last year.  The number of sexual assaults has also increased to 40 which is more than a 100% increase.  There has also been 10 cases of trafficking. And an 80% increase in individuals and families needing rent assistance.  Executive Director for Siuslaw Outreach Services, Bob Teter says with a month statistics still left to be compiled the numbers could get worse since December tends to be a difficult month.  Teter says the stress of the Holidays tends to increase incidents and the addition of COVID-19 in to the mix makes it even more so.  He also said that SOS is experiencing a lack of volunteers since the majority of volunteers tends to be in the age range of the most vulnerable to the virus.  One of the bright spots, according to Teter, is the number of contributions coming in.  He says he hopes to see that continue as the winter months tend to be a time that more services are needed.  SOS provides services to more than 3000 people annually.

Chia Seeds Expand On Coast in Florence

Bags of Chia Seeds have washed up on the shore in Florence and Newport this week.  The Oregon Parks and Recreation Department says unusual commercial-sized bags were discovered just north of Florence along with a battered chunk of a shipping container.  The seeds are not toxic, but do expand when they come in contact with water.  OPRD says at least 4 bags have sprouted already.  The bags are so heavy that they had to be cut up and hauled out by equipment according to park ranger Jason Hennessey.