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Jackson County Public Health strongly recommends masks in indoor public spaces

The county-level recommendation comes after similar changes to guidance at the CDC and Oregon Health Authority on Tuesday due to extensive spread of the Delta COVID-19 variant.

Posted: Jul 28, 2021 9:23 AM
Updated: Jul 28, 2021 10:06 AM

MEDFORD, Ore. — Jackson County Public Health issued a statement on Wednesday urging that people wear masks in indoor public spaces regardless of vaccination status. The county-level recommendation comes after similar changes to guidance at the CDC and Oregon Health Authority on Tuesday due to extensive spread of the Delta COVID-19 variant.

The recommendation applies to everyone 5 years and older, or 2 and older if tolerated.

JCPH said that the advisory accompanies a rise in COVID-19 cases in Jackson County, a relatively low local vaccination rate, and the spread of the Delta variant in Oregon.

"Since June 27, 2021, Jackson County Public Health has seen a significant increase in the number of new COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations, with both categories increasing over 200 percent," the agency said.

Most of the recent cases have been among the unvaccinated, public health officials said. Over May and June, case rates were six times higher among those who were not vaccinated, and only .1 percent of fully vaccinated people got COVID-19 during that two month period.

The Delta variant in particular has mutations on its spike protein that make it easier to infect human cells, and thus has been more contagious. Health officials cited a recent study, which found that the Delta variant's viral load is about 1,000 times higher than the original virus that causes COVID-19.


RELATED: Oregon counts more than 1,000 daily COVID-19 cases for the first time since April


"With the viral load being 1,000 times higher, this means that an infected person is shedding more of the virus, increasing the probability that a close contact will be exposed to more virus, become contagious quickly after being exposed, and infect more people," JCPH said.

Jackson County's adult vaccination rate is just 54.7 percent, the 17th lowest in Oregon. 

“Because of the low vaccination rate in Jackson County, we will see the virus spread when people engage in riskier activities that include more contact with people and where prevention strategies are not being used, such as getting vaccinated and/or wearing a mask,” said Tanya Phillips, Health Promotion Manager for Jackson County Public Health.

The agency reported 91 new COVID-19 cases as of Wednesday morning, in addition to two more deaths attributed to the virus. There have been 153 such deaths in Jackson County since the beginning of the pandemic.

“It will continue to take a multilayered approach to stop the spread of COVID-19; there is no one strategy, that when used alone, will stop the pandemic,” said Dr. Jim Shames, Jackson County Health Officer. "Vaccines are the most critical tool we have to stop this pandemic. Wearing masks and using other prevention tools will remain necessary until more people are vaccinated, and herd immunity can be reached. A multilayered approach will consist of getting vaccinated, wearing a mask, staying home when you are sick, staying away from others who are ill, good hygiene practices, and physical distancing.”

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 313161

Reported Deaths: 3594
CountyCasesDeaths
Multnomah51245642
Washington34995276
Marion32577393
Clackamas26570271
Lane23989246
Jackson20977257
Deschutes16623102
Umatilla12602125
Douglas10712188
Linn1046886
Josephine8659165
Yamhill744999
Klamath643491
Polk623570
Malheur479467
Benton461927
Coos412069
Columbia324237
Jefferson313746
Lincoln276330
Union272737
Wasco239039
Crook212338
Clatsop211725
Tillamook181523
Baker174421
Morrow167921
Curry166817
Hood River163035
Harney78916
Grant7558
Lake6768
Wallowa50811
Gilliam1374
Sherman1283
Wheeler651
Unassigned00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 4644566

Reported Deaths: 68019
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles144512125852
Riverside3579884804
San Diego3495814009
San Bernardino3472035506
Orange3146225354
Sacramento1503072089
Santa Clara1405641841
Fresno1358611888
Kern1358421515
Alameda1162141329
Ventura976901120
San Joaquin973871615
Contra Costa95727924
Stanislaus806991234
Tulare72969896
San Mateo52239607
San Francisco51907605
Monterey49465565
Solano44151312
Santa Barbara43112500
Sonoma39441378
Merced39370535
Placer36487364
Imperial34261755
Kings30124284
San Luis Obispo28300313
Madera21707258
Butte21307230
Shasta20683276
Santa Cruz20151211
Yolo19143239
Marin17106242
El Dorado16004127
Sutter13094153
Napa1226895
Yuba926061
Nevada847685
Humboldt829587
Tehama823784
San Benito709067
Mendocino685575
Lassen637627
Tuolumne615393
Lake603687
Amador492259
Glenn398030
Siskiyou389541
Calaveras342266
Del Norte336034
Colusa290918
Inyo166539
Mono14935
Plumas12406
Mariposa99712
Trinity72010
Modoc6278
Sierra1980
Unassigned1650
Alpine1000
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