COVID Still Rising in the Community
The Number of COVID-19 cases in Florence has risen165 in just the last two weeks according to LCPH. No urgent warnings or major statements have been made regarding the increase. Instead the county is focusing on vaccinating individuals in the area and urging that people use extreme caution and follow the safety protocols established during the early stages of the pandemic. Jason Davis with LCPH says the focus is turning to personal responsibility and less about mandates, however that is not the case when it comes to education and child safety in the schools. Schools are increasing their safety rules and requiring more stringent guidelines particularly when it comes to sporting events and indoor activities at the school. all time covid numbers for the Florence area have jumped to 1073. Davis told coast radio news that about 30% of the areas cases are breakthrough cases. He also says that they are extremely worried about covid fatigue. One restaurant, Darlings resort south of the bridge has even posted a sign that they would not be policing the masking policies and are instead presuming that individuals are following all safety protocols and adhering to established guidelines if they choose to enter the facility without a mask. It is widely reported that vaccinated individuals are less likely to get serious illness from the Omicron variant.
School Expansion Possible
The Siuslaw School District is pursuing a plan that would add temporary classrooms and provide a more secure entry to the building. At last week’s board meeting Directors heard the preliminary details and authorized the administration to proceed with getting more information and details on how the additions would be paid for. In his report to Directors, Superintendent Andy Grzeskowiak said the expansion would possibly include four prefabricated buildings. Three would include two classrooms each, the fourth would be new administrative offices for the school and would be placed just out of the Southeast entrance to the building. That would not only address an immediate need to provide a more secure entry into the school, but would free up additional classroom space. Grzeskowiak said the new classrooms would not be ready for occupancy until at least January of 2023.
Is that cough, achy feeling COVID? It could be the seasonal flu. The Oregon Health Authority is reporting that the flu is beginning to increase across the state and many of the symptoms are similar to COVID-19. Cases of the flu are increasing across the Columbia gorge, central Oregon, Willamette valley and the Portland metro, but they are still way below previous seasons with last year being the exception where the flu was almost non-existent. Positive case results are below 1 percent of persons tested, but there has been a steady week over week rise since Christmas.
Food Share Receives Grant
The Florence food share has been awarded $5000.00 from the Autzen Foundation. Food Share Director Colin Morgan says he is grateful to the foundation for their generous contribution and it comes when they are seeing an increase in numbers of households. Morgan says the food share saw almost 300 new households take advantage of their services in 2020-2021. He says the pandemic seems to be the most contributing factor to the increase.