Boats on the Port of Siuslaw

Florence Reaches COVID Milestone; OHA Offers New Hotline for COVID-19; Winter Music Festival; COVID-19 Statewide

Florence Reaches COVID Milestone

The Florence Area has catapulted past the 1,000 mark yesterday with a one day total of 29 cases reported of COVID-19 bringing the all-time total to 1,019.  One of the largest single day totals the area has seen.  Lane County Public Health reported the numbers.  While the number is significant, health officials say that the Omicron variant of the virus will likely continue to spread in the area and that the vaccine is one of the ways that the spread can be minimally damaging to health.  Almost 80% of residents in the area are vaccinated according to LCPH numbers, but that sill leaves a significant portion of the public with little or no protection.  Also considering the infectiousness of this variant about 35% of vaccinated individuals are becoming breakthrough cases, though few of those numbers are seeing significant symptoms.  Unvaccinated individuals are more susceptible to serious health issues from Omicron. Vaccines and boosters are widely available in the Florence area with an ongoing daily clinic located at the Florence events center.

OHA Offers New Hotline for COVID-19

With resources at a minimum and cases skyrocketing the Oregon Health Authority has initiated a COVID-19 hotline for infected individuals.  The number is 866-917-8881.  The number can provide information on how to keep safe during the symptomatic period and provides reporting for individual that want to be included in daily numbers.  The OHA has changed from a model of contact tracing and individual interviews to self-reporting, while still maintaining a focus on high risk settings like congregate care, health care, k-12 education and food chain industries.  Dr. Dean Sidelinger says the current surge of Omicron patients has outpaced the public health system making investigation and contact tracing difficult.  He says they realize that they cannot effectively slow the spread of the virus in the context of widespread community transmission.  Dr. Sidelinger is a health officer and state epidemiologist at Oregon Health Authority.

Winter Music Festival

The Winter Music Festival is coming in two weeks to the Florence Events Center.  Friday January 28th and Saturday the 29th the Florence Events Center will be abuzz with folk and bluegrass musicians from around the country.  6 bands will participate in the event culminating with Grammy award winning singer songwriter Karla Bonoff.  The festival also includes workshops on songwriting and playing as a duo and jams for the beginner or advanced musician.  Tickets and information are available at

COVID-19 Statewide

The Oregon health Authority reported 8,760 new and presumptive cases of COVID-19 yesterday along with 31 new deaths.  OHA officials say the rate of positivitiy has skyrocketed.  Last week 89% of tests came back with a positive result.  Rates have been hovering around 20% until the latest surge.  113 individuals succumbed to the virus last week.  OHA is also reporting that there are currently 128 active outbreaks in senior living communities and congregate living settings.  There were close to 50,000 new cases reported last week alone.  Yesterday Lane County reported 678 new cases with Multnomah exceeding 1400 cases and Washington reporting more than 1,100.  Clackamas also added 820.  The Portland area continue to be the highest metro area for cases.