Controlled Burn Planned; Florence Number Mimick County/State; COVID Numbers; Lifting Maks Mandate

Controlled Burn Planned

Firefighters of Siuslaw National Forest are preparing to conduct a 20-acre prescribed fire beginning today near Tahkenitch Beach on the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area to improve habitat for the threatened western snowy plover.  This weather-dependent burn, expected to continue multiple days through mid-March, is one mile southwest of the Oregon Dunes Overlook Day Use Area on the Central Coast Ranger District. Trained firefighting personnel will ignite vegetation while fire danger is low and monitor the burn to ensure fire does not spread outside the immediate vicinity. Recreation sites in the area will remain open, negligible smoke is expected. The area to be burned contains non-native European beachgrass, this invasive vegetation hinders adult plovers from predator avoidance and prevents young chicks from reaching preferred foraging sites on the ocean beach.

Florence Number Mimick County/State

Florence is following the trend of Lane County and the state when it comes to COVID-19 cases.  That is the word from Jason Davis with Lane County Public Health.  One area that is currently safe from outbreaks are Florence’s long term care facilities.  What Davis did say that concerned him was the number of hospitalizations to the south of us in Coos County.  Davis says the number of sick represented are mainly in the unvaccinated.  He says Coos County has a lower rate of vaccinations than Lane does.  He also says they are predicting an increase in respiratory cases once the mask mandate is removed.  He says the onus will be on the individual to protect themselves and make choices regarding their respiratory health.

COVID Numbers

3 more cases of COVID-19 were added to the list for Florence yesterday (1466), but the two week total continues to lessen with the rate down to 64.  Lane County reported 55 new cases yesterday the lowest single day total in more than 2 months.  The Oregon Health Authority is reporting fewer than 1000 cases with 856 continuing the downward trend.  There were however 59 new deaths reported as the omicron virus continues to have devastating effects on unvaccinated individuals.  There are 51 fewer hospitalization beds being used by COVID-19 patients down to 528 around the state.

Lifting Maks Mandate

The Oregon Health Authority, announced yesterday that it would be lifting the mandatory mask mandate for indoor spaces effective March 19th.  A follow up by the Oregon Department of Education’s director Colt Gill says schools will be prepared for this date and they will take necessary actions to ensure students can safely remain in class.  ODE and OHA are in progress of updating safety protocols for quarantine, contact tracing and testing that meet the current conditions of the pandemic.  Even though restrictions will be lifted it is the advice of state officials to continue using masks in high risk groups like the unvaccinated, immunocompromised and individuals 65 and older or with underlying health conditions.  In addition to the lifting of the mandate, Governor Kate Brown also said she would be lifting the emergency declaration for the state as of April first.