Two Week Soar in COVID-19 Cases for Florence; Schools Work on In-Class Instruction; First Responders – Respond to COVID Vaccine; OHA To Ramp Up Vaccines; New Cases

Two Week Soar in COVID-19 Cases for Florence

Five more COVID-19 cases were added to the 97439 zip code yesterday with more to come according to health officials.  that makes 39 cases in just the last two weeks a third of the areas total.  Jason Davis with Lane County Public Health says that the recent spike in cases has been occurring in small settings like family gatherings and individuals in social groups disregarding best practices when it comes to the coronavirus.

“The concensus among our people is that the reason for that is really COVID fatigue.  People starting to let their guard down and go about their activities as if nothing is happening.”

Davis says the danger of COVID Fatigue is that it takes people out of a condition of awareness and causes individuals to be lax in situations that they would normally have a heightened sensitivity to.

“Accounting for your spread right now is household transmission and public transmission via everyday encounters with your friends, your neighbors at local businesses at local gathering places.”

Davis also says that COVID-19 is spread more easily than flu and the practices that keep us safe from the flu have to be increased due to the way it is spread.  He says the 6 foot rule is the rule that health officials decided on, but even more distance is recommended, but admittedly hard to maintain.  Florence’s case count is at 110.

Schools Work on In-Class Instruction

Siuslaw Superintendent of Schools, Andy Grzeskowiak says that the beginning of cohorting for on-site education left parents and staff a bit apprehensive, but after a few sessions both could see the advantage of bringing some students back to class.  More families have requested inclusion into the program and Grzeskowiak says the campus safety protocols are effective.  Grzeskowiak will be a guest on the Our Town to talk about the return of students and the current plans from the Oregon Department of Education.

First Responders – Respond to COVID Vaccine

Chief Michael Schick was one of the first to pony up to the line as first responders began receiving the Moderna Covid-19 vaccine on Monday.  Operations Chief Matt house administered some of the first vaccines.  Schick said the vaccine felt no different than what he has experienced from the flu vaccine.  Fire and EMS crews are being offered the vaccine with the Florence Police Department to be the next round in the coming weeks.

OHA To Ramp Up Vaccines

The Oregon Health Authority announced yesterday that they are planning to speed up the delivery of the COVID-19 vaccines in the next several weeks.  The process for getting the shot in the arms of the most vulnerable has had some delays in the early stages, but OHA Director Patrick Allen says that they plan to meet the governor’s goal of 12,000 vaccinations per day within the next two weeks.  Some of the changes will give the flexibility to expand the groups that can receive the vaccine to congregate care sites such as nursing homes and behavioral health programs as well as outpatient providers who serve high risk groups and home health providers.  Allen says these changes will mean that the general public can start receiving their shots much sooner than originally thought, yet gave no date as to when that might begin.

New Cases

Oregon reported 1,059 new cases yesterday and Lane County added 65.  There was an alarming 44 new deaths associated with the coronavirus added to the list yesterday totaling 1,550 since the beginning of the pandemic.  Hospitalizations also increased by 17 yesterday for a total of 494 beds occupied, about 20% of those are in Intensive Care.