Infections Tied to Church Gatherings; Peace Harbor Stiffens Visitor Policy After Positive Tests; Two More For Florence; Commissioners Solicit Governor to Localize Restrictions

Infections Tied to Church Gatherings

Recent rises in COVID-19 infections can be traced to several places within the immediate Florence area.  Jason Davis with Lane County Public Health yesterday says that they have identified the source of 12 cases.  Davis says those cases were associated with a local church here in Florence, but was clear to note that the outbreak was not believed to be from a church setting but rather from activities that occurred outside of the church building, possibly a bible study or other activity.

“Its happening in those extra curricular activities in people’s homes”

Davis also said that there are known cases in the Siuslaw School District involving students, but could only say that the district had one through nine cases.  He said the specific number of cases is not distributed until it reaches over 10 to provide anonymity.  Lane County moves to the Extreme Risk Level on Friday.  New metrics associated with the Extreme Risk category associated with new guidelines from the CDC will allow outdoor seating to increase from 50 persons to 100 persons.  A change that will likely not affect local restaurants.

Peace Harbor Stiffens Visitor Policy After Positive Tests

Peace Harbor hospital says 2 patients tested positive after an initial negative test prompting the need to test all caregivers in the hospital.  During the testing several individuals received positive test results according to medical director Dr. Heather McArthur.

“5 of our employees tested positive for COVID-19, these are people who, just like the rest of us, are living and working here in our community.”

The positive results have caused the hospital to adjust its visitor policy and are now allowing only caregivers of patients to accompany them..

Two More For Florence

Two more cases of COVID-19 were reported by Lane County Public Health yesterday bringing the number to 231.  The county also reported 65 new cases.  Jason Davis with LCPH has said that lower weekend numbers were part of the accounting process and not a sign of cases easing back.  The county is still reporting more than 110 cases per 100,000 residents.  Statewide the Oregon Health Authority is reporting 740 new cases.

Commissioners Solicit Governor to Localize Restrictions

Lane County board of commissioners unanimously approved a letter to Governor Kate Brown asking for a greater number of vaccines to be allotted to the county.  The letter also requests that the High and Extreme restrictions be more centrally localized as to not be a burden on areas that are not experiencing high numbers of cases.  The hope is that areas like Florence and Cottage Grove can continue to operate with a separate set of metrics based on infections in their area.  As far as the vaccines, Lane County recently received a much smaller allocation than normal and had to reach out to communities outside the county that had additional vaccines that were not being used.