WLFEA Adresses Privatization Query; New COVID-19 Surge; Breakthrough Cases; Increases For COVID-19; City to Release More PPE

WLFEA Adresses Privatization Query

A call to privatization of the Western Lane Ambulance District was met with a response from the Western Lane Fire and EMS Authority.  In an Our Town interview on Coast Radio  Chief Michael Schick was asked if the pay for experienced EMT’s and those trained in critical care was out of line or too high for the district that they represent.  Schick says there is a definite difference in a privatized model versus the model that exists within the district.

“A private ambulance there in it to make a profit, so they pay their people less and that’s the model they have to use and its an ok model if that’s what you’re worried about is just profits, but when your’re looking at patient care then I think sometimes, yeah, you look for experience”

Schick says that the district is in pretty good shape.  An increase in calls has meant an increase in revenue over and above what the levy provides. And the ambulance district is also able to bill for transports that has helped the bottom line.

“This is the Best I’ve seen Western Lane Ambulance District financially, since I have been here for over two years.”

There is a push by a small group that includes WLAD board member Larry Farnsworth to privatize the district in the belief that overall it would save a lot of money.  This November residents will likely have the chance to decide if they want to renew the levy that helps fund WLAD.  The current cost per property owner according to Board Member Mike Webb is about 32 cents per day.

New COVID-19 Surge

Lane County continues to record high numbers of the coronavirus as health officials worry that a new surge is brewing.  The county has traced the surges to social gatherings and workplace outbreaks.  Spokesperson for Lane County Public Health, Jason Davis says numbers show the highest reports are from multi-household gatherings, quite possibly from the Easter weekend.  Yesterday’s 46 new cases continues to outpace the week’s previous daily totals.  Over the past several days there have been no new cases for the Florence area, but surges in the valley do threaten the Low Risk status for the coast.  Today begins a two week cautionary period and if numbers do not go down, Lane County could move back to moderate or even high risk level.

Breakthrough Cases

In more coronavirus new the Oregon Health Authority is reporting that they have identified 168 breakthrough cases of COVID-19.  A breakthrough case is an instance where someone has tested positive for COVID-19 at least two weeks after receiving their final dose of the vaccine.  The OHA officials say it is a reminder that while the vaccines are highly effective, no vaccine is 100% effective.  700,000 individuals have been fully vaccinated in Oregon and the 168 breakout cases represents a very small portion of the total cases.

Increases For COVID-19

Deaths, hospitalizations and cases have been steadily increasing over the past week according to the latest OHA weekly report.  New cases have seen a 21% increase while hospitalizations have reached 150, that is 13 more than last week.  There were also 9 more deaths reported last week than the previous week.  Yesterday alone there were 678 new cases of COVID-19 reported by the OHA.

City to Release More PPE

The City of Florence has announced another round of Personal Protective Equipment for area businesses.  PPE eligibility is for Florence businesses that have less than 100 employees and are located in and around the Florence area.  Businesses can sign up at the city’s website, ci.florence.or.us.  there are limited quantities of masks, gloves, aerosol disinfectant spray, sanitizing wipes, hand sanitizer and touchless thermometers.   The distribution will begin in Late April.