COVID Positives Down; OCHS Director Calls it Quits; COVID-19 Update; Vaccination Town Hall; Arson Suspect Arrested; Death Likely From Sneaker Wave

COVID Positives Down

After three weeks of steady increases in COVID-19 positive tests at Peace Harbor Hospital, Director of Operations, Cheri Payne says the number is finally slowing down.

“We are seeing a decline in the positive COVID-19 testing coming back this week so that’s good.”

She says they are seeing an increase in testing for people coming in for scheduled procedures in the surgery department.  She also says that they are seeing some upper respiratory infections with some coughing and congestion, but currently there has been no cases of the seasonal flu reported in Florence, something Dr. Heather McArthur says is a result of the emphasis put on coronavirus precautions.

“Influenza is very easily stopped by mask wearing which is why we are seeing that spread contained.

With that having been said there were 2 new COVID-19 cases reported in Florence by Lane County Public Health yesterday bringing our current total to 138.

OCHS Director Calls it Quits

The Oregon Coast Humane Society has announced the sudden resignation of their executive director, Charles Brown.  Humane society board president Shauna Robbers issued a statement from the board saying they are surprised, confused, and disappointed by the sudden decision.  Robbers says they will work quickly to find a replacement for Brown and thanked him for his service.  She also said operations will continue as usual in both the shelter and the thrift store.  Robbers says the board will update the public, members and financial partners when a new Executive Director is chosen.  Brown says he has no official comment at this time.

COVID-19 Update

There were 704 new cases of COVID-19 reported by the Oregon Health Authority yesterday bringing the state’s total to 135,142 in addition there were 24 new deaths reported associated with the coronavirus.  The OHA is also reporting problems with vaccination results as technical challenges are causing providers to lag in posting their numbers.  OHA is having to report cumulative numbers over several days as some vaccination outlets are as much as 72 hours behind.  There have been 13,694 doses administered over the past 2 days.

Vaccination Town Hall

If you have questions about the coronavirus and the rollout of the vaccination schedule Lane County Public Health is going to have a virtual town hall this evening from 7 to 8:30 pm and will be available on the Lane County Government Facebook page.  Leaders in the health community will be on hand to answer questions about the vaccination schedule and other covid-19 related questions.

Arson Suspect Arrested

The Florence Police and Siuslaw Valley Fire and Rescue have finished their investigation into a fire at an apartment on 1750 8th street.  Police have arrested 18 year old Ethan Castle of Florence and charged him with Arson 1, Reckless Endangerment, Reckless Burning, Criminal Mischief 1 and disorderly conduct.  Castle was also arrested and charged with Rape II and Sex Abuse III after another investigation from an incident reported in October of 2020.  Castle is being held at Lane County Adult Corrections.

Death Likely From Sneaker Wave

Lincoln County Sheriff’s deputy Rene Lopez has confirmed that the death of 60 year old Toni Goessman was likely due to a sneaker wave.  Sneaker waves are dangerous and can come on quickly.  Authorities say never turn your back on the ocean and be particularly careful of weather conditions off shore, because ocean events often begin where stormy conditions are not evident along the coastal beaches.  Debris brought in can also be deadly and is not always seen in the surf.