First off, Governor Kate Brown has applied to the Federal Emergency Management Agency to declare the Otis area a major disaster zone. The proof is all around – many losing their homes. The fire in the Otis area is said to be 25% contained, which means 25% of the fire is surrounded by fire breaks. Three-quarters are not. The fire has been held to a size of 2,345 acres.
Numerous businesses and non-profit agencies have jumped in to help refugees with food, clothing and transportation, even shelters…some as far away as Newport. The Newport Recreation Center is filling up. The Red Cross is helping a number of families to shelter in local motels. The Lincoln County Commons Livestock area is taking in a wide variety of animals for temporary care and to be re-united with their owners.
County Commissioners learned that finding housing for the many who no longer have homes or whose homes have been damaged by the fire isn’t going to be easy. But churches, and again businesses, friends and neighbors are generously extending welcoming hands to help those who are now homeless. There is also a county request to have the State Department of Parks open up the Devil’s Lake Campground to provide temporary space for those who no longer have a place to live.
North Lincoln Sanitary has suffered some damage in that their routes have been disrupted by the fire and that the county has engineered a temporary agreement with the other two trash collection companies who will re-divide up the collection areas for the sake of efficiency.
As for the Covid virus itself, the county has had a total of 472 Covid cases reported to the county health department. 8,244 people tested clean. 23 have been hospitalized, 31 have recovered from the virus but unfortunately there have been 13 deaths.
As the Covid virus continues to jump from one person to another, testing is once again “front-and-center.” Medical officials are hoping the worst is over, but getting a vaccine and followup treatments are a bit “out there.” There’s a lot of speculation that a vaccine may be available just in time for Christmas. It’s not known if the vaccines (plural) will be administered every year like the flu vaccine. They’re still trying to work that out. But researchers are very optimistic that they’re getting the job done so we won’t have another Covid-Christmas like we’re headed in to.
County officials remind us to wear our masks, maintain distance and wash, wash, wash your face and hands.
Any questions to authorities about anything, call 541-265-0621, open every day 8am to 8pm.