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Ashland emergency declaration extended

The city of Ashland’s emergency declaration, first issued March 15, 2020, secured its 19th extension Tuesday, lasting this time through April 5.

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact residents, employees, visitors and businesses, will continue to call for city resources “to keep the community informed and as safe as possible,” and is expected to negatively affect the local economy and workforce through at least April 5, according to language in the extension.

City Manager Joe Lessard said the extension allows boards, commissions and the City Council to continue meeting by electronic means, and prepares the city to receive potential state and federal emergency funding.

“The omicron variant is supposed to have a quick peak and a quick fall-off,” Lessard said. “We’re hoping that this extension will get us through that fall-off period …to a position where we will be able to return to normal operations.”

Oregon Health & Science University projected that the number of people hospitalized with the virus in Oregon will peak around 1,220 people Feb. 6 and begin dropping by next weekend. Until then, hospitals will remain “severely strained,” according to this week’s forecast.

The updated projection altered the peak to five days later and 330 people fewer compared to the previous forecast.

The state emergency declaration remains in effect until June 30, unless rescinded or extended.