PeaceHealth to Require Healthcare Worker Vaccinations; City Celebrates; More COVID-19 Cases Impact Florence; Air Quality Alert Continues

PeaceHealth to Require Healthcare Worker Vaccinations

Late yesterday morning the PeaceHealth Hospital system released information that they were going to require all healthcare workers to be vaccinated.  this comes one day after PeaceHealth announced that it would be reinstating its no visitor policy.  Dr. David Koukkouk is the Chief physician executive with PeaceHealth and says this move is necessary to ensure that patient care is on the top of the hospitals list.  however state law prohibits health care facilities from mandating vaccinations for its staff, a problem he says has an answer.

“I think that law is certainly a barrier.  I think we’re looking at this as a public health emergency.  We’re hoping to have some support from our government officials in sort of being able to implement these standards.”

Koukkouk says recent outbreaks in Vancouver and in Florence within the hospital had little to do with the decision to require staff to be vaccinated, but the severity of cases in general, including the numbers of individuals now admitted with covid-19.

“We’ve gone from just 24 patients in our covid units across Peace Health  on July 16th to 107 this morning.”

he also says there are a number of individuals for certain health reasons cannot be vaccinated and therefore it is imperative that those who can do their part to stem the virus.  According to dr. Koukkouk 95 % of those individuals that have recently been admitted to the hospital are unvaccinated individuals.

City Celebrates

Hundreds of hot dogs and hamburgers were shared with the citizens of Florence last night at the 3rd annual national night out.  Miller park was filled with Florence residents coming out to celebrate and learn about programs being instituted by the Florence Police Department.  Earlier in the evening the City Dedicated the new concession stand.  Much of the work for the project was done by the public works department led by Mike Miller.  More than 360,000 dollars in grants were received to pay for the facility.  Mayor Joe Henry was on hand to cut the ribbon.

“We have some people to thank for a grant that we got to do this and our public works and our city staff just did an awesome job.  It’s going to be very nice for our community.”

Florence Rotary also donated monies to pay for the concession equipment inside the facility.

More COVID-19 Cases Impact Florence

Three more cases of COVID-19 have impacted the Florence area as cases continue to mount across the County.  There are now 336 cases all time for the area and health officials say the number will likely rise.  There were 1,575 new cases reported Tuesday and 127 for Lane County.  PeaceHealth officials have said that more than 95% of individuals in their hospitals are from an unvaccinated population.  Hospital beds statewide now have 379 individuals with covid-19, 39 more than yesterday.

Air Quality Alert Continues

The air quality alert for Florence has been extended through 11 pm tomorrow.  The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality is reporting that northwesterly winds will continue to bring smoke in from fires burning in the south eastern part of the state bringing in the possibility for burning eyes, and other health issues.  As it was yesterday the most hazardous conditions will continue to be east of our area, but precautions should be taken.