Fire Burns Local Eatery; Hospitals Concerned with Rise in Patients; New COVID Numbers; Gas Prices

Fire Burns Local Eatery

Siuslaw Valley Fire and Rescue was called to a fire at the Florence Dairy Queen this morning at approximately 1:30 am.  Several units were dispatched to fight the blaze. Flames could be seen coming off the roof of the building.  Conditions are unknown at this time.  Fire Marshall Tony Miller says the investigation is in its early stages and it is too soon to know the cause of the blaze or how extensive is the damage.  He says Western Lane Ambulance was first on the scene.

“They gave a really good size-up and said there was fire coming from the ceiling already, or come out the roof, and so they just went to work.”

Chief Michael Schick said in a press release that upon arrival it was determined that the fire was too advanced to enter the building and defensive measures took place outside.  Schick said there were multiple units on scene and 14 firefighters.  There were also units from Reedsport that assisted as well as the Florence Police Department and Florence Public works to mitigate water runoff.  He said that after the fire was extinguished they were able to enter the building and determine that it was a total loss.

Hospitals Concerned with Rise in Patients

As COVID-19 cases continue to rise around the state hospitals are concerned that there will not be enough room for the mounting cases.  86 more COVID-19 patients were admitted across the state bringing the total number of patients currently hospitalized to 838.  This has caused hospitals, including Peace Harbor in Florence to limit surgeries that would require overnight stays,  such at total hip and knee replacements.  But Dr. Heather McArthur says they have not yet stopped outpatient procedures.

“Those procedures that would be an outpatient procedure, like a colonoscopy where they would just come in, get their procedure and go home, we will continue to do those for now.”

McArthur says the hospital is prepared and is doing a great job with established protocols against the virus.  She also says that individuals should not put off seeking medical care even though the numbers of COVID are up.

I worry that many of them are delaying coming in for care out of fear of the virus and we can help them if they would have come in earlier.  So Please if you’re ill and needing assistance, please come in and let us help you.”

New COVID Numbers

There were almost 3,000 new cases of COVID-19 reported yesterday across the state and 253 new cases in Lane County that with the mounting hospitalizations has health care facilities concerned that there will soon not be enough beds to care for the sick.  PeaceHealth Riverbend reported 351 beds were taken by patients and 66 of those were committed to COVID-19.  Riverbend recently expanded their COVID-19 section to accommodate more patients, but staffing concerns are a worry for them as well as for other hospitals around the state.  Dr. Willie Foster says the search is ongoing to fill empty slots.

“There is a relative shortage of providers, especially nurses and we are working on that trying to get some travelers or part time people to come in and supplement our staff if needed.”

Foster says right  now COVID-19 patients from Florence that require hospitalization are being transported to Riverbend, but they have contingency plans if the time comes when Riverbend can no longer accept them.  He says the goal is to always keep patients locally when possible, but space is limited locally and therefore necessary to transport COVID patients.

Gas Prices

Marie Dodds with AAA Oregon says the state has seen its largest one week jump in prices in recent times.  the state’s average for a gallon of regular gas jumped 3.5 cents to $3.80  a gallon while Florence remains at $3.60 a gallon.  Dodds says the increase comes as supply and demand has dropped, but rising crude prices continue to contribute to elevated prices around the region.