Governor to Support PeaceHealth Requirement
On the heels of a controversial decision to require all its health care workers to be vaccinated PeaceHealth received some support late yesterday from the state. Governor Kate Brown has directed the the Oregon Health Authority to enact a new rule that circumvents the state law that prohibits forcing health care workers to abide by mandatory vaccinations. The new rule will require weekly testing of individuals in health care settings that deal directly or indirectly with patient care. Brown says mandatory testing can be replaced with proof of vaccination.
“This new safety measure is necessary to stop delta from causing severe illness among our first line of defense. Our doctors, nursers, medical students and frontline health care workers.”
Brown says this will also help protect those that cannot get vaccinated due to either age or health conditions that could worsen if vaccinated. The new rule will take effect on September 30th.
More COVID for Florence
The instance of COVID-19 for the Florence area continues to increase as Lane County Public Health reported two more cases yesterday. There were 111 new cases in the county yesterday and the county is reporting one of it highest numbers of potentially infectious individuals at 572. Hospitalizations also continue to climb in Lane County and across the state. there are currently 30 beds dedicated to COVID-19 patients in Lane County Hospitals and statewide the number grew by 43 yesterday to 422. Cases continue to surge as the state reports a 92% increase from the previous week and the test positivity rate has shot up to 8.2%.
The rise in coronavirus cases has caused some people to change their plans locally. Several private events scheduled for this weekend due to the surge. The Florence Community Chorus has also decided to cancel its annual Christmas Concert in December. Trina Smith said in a short email that they were very disappointed that they have to cancel. Concerns over safe meeting spaces and close quarters during practices is a large part for the cancelation along with not knowing what the situation will be like later in the year.
Air Quality Alert
The Oregon department of Environmental Quality has extended the Air Quality Alert for Florence until noon tomorrow. It has also expanded the alert to include Albany, Lebanon, and Sweet Home in the valley. winds continue to be a factor in bringing low quality air into the area. Conditions are expected to be worse inland than on the coast, but the health advisory warns that poor quality air can result in breathing issues and burning eyes.