Jackson County officially moves from 'Extreme Risk' to 'High Risk' today

On Friday, Jackson County officially moved down from an 'Extreme Risk' county to a 'High Risk' county, opening back up indoor dining, gyms and entertainment centers to 25% capacity.

Posted: Feb 26, 2021 6:38 PM

JACKSON COUNTY, Ore-- On Friday, Jackson County officially moved down from an 'Extreme Risk' county to a 'High Risk' county, opening back up indoor dining, gyms and entertainment centers to 25% capacity or a maximum of 50 people, whatever is smaller. 

Jackson County Public Health said that the move to a lower risk level was prompted by a decrease in the COVID-19 case rate to below 200 cases per 100,000 population. For two weeks from February 7 through February 20, Jackson County had a case rate of 174.9 cases per 100,000 population, which allowed the county to open back up services that the public had been missing.

"It is amazing," said Jackson County resident Karey James about indoor dining returning to the county. "We love to go out and eat. My husband and I go out quite a bit and we take my mom out as often as we can. We've just really missed it."

Over in Medford, Elmers Restuarant was able to bring back indoor dining in time for the county's changes. Signs and banners were posted near the restaurant on Biddle Road, to help let the public know that they're back, for at least the next few weeks.

"It's just, it's incredible and it's just awesome to be out," said James.

Over the last several months, restaurants, gyms and entertainment centers had to either shut down or limit foot track in and out of their businesses because of the 'Extreme' Covid-19 restrictions set by the state. For some businesses, this caused a large amount of people to leave the hospitality and entertainment business in search of work, to survive the Covid-19 pandemic.

"It's been extremely difficult," said Dave Thomason, who is the owner of Thomason Hospitality Group. "I've been in this business for 40 years and these last 12 months have been the most difficult in that entire time."

Although today has been a happy day for a large majority of Oregonians across Jackson County, coronavirus cases arn't slowing down. In the last five days Jackson County has reported more than 200 cases of Covid-19, which are all apart of the next two week period to reassess Jackson County's status when it comes to the pandemic. According to the guidelines set by the state, for Jackson County to remain in the 'High Risk' category, the county must report between 200 and 400 cases within a 14-day span. With more than 200 cases reported and 9 days still left to go, the county is at risk to be moved back into the 'Extreme Risk' in just a few weeks.

"Until the governor changes the guidance, I suppose we are at risk of rapidly changing back to the 'Extreme Risk'," said Jackson County's Public Health Dr. Jim Shames. "And that would be a shame. It would be a shame for so many reasons."

According to Dr. Shames there is no clear cut answer right now to why cases are not only increasing across the county, but also across the country. However, there are a few possibilities.

"There are a lot of variables right now, " said Dr. Shames. "We've got the variants which are rapidly spreading and there is the possibility that they are more contagious."

Although cases are increasing across the county and the country, there is some positive news.

"The good news is that we are increasing vaccinations every day, and every day that we vaccinate someone we are reducing the likelihood of significant spread," Dr. Shames said.

NewsWatch 12 reached out to members of the Jackson County community on what they would do if the county does move back into the 'Extreme Risk'. Some say that they would consider leaving the area for a short while if that does happen.

"I'd have to get out of town for a while to get a break," said Gold Hill resident Jay Taylor. "It would just be quite a shock to my system to have to go back to that kind of a lifestyle."

While other are asking for more permanent changes to the guidelines set by the state.

"The cases the way they are have trended down in the entire state of Oregon," said Thomason. "It's time for the governor to stand up and say 'We need to get rid of this every two week kind of process.' We should all be moved into what they consider to be the high risk protocol, which allows us this 25% occupancy."

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 173626

Reported Deaths: 2457
CountyCasesDeaths
Multnomah34641566
Washington23309229
Marion20037299
Clackamas15216204
Lane11478144
Jackson9846127
Umatilla795383
Deschutes698772
Linn410763
Yamhill407074
Malheur342558
Polk341752
Klamath340859
Josephine304262
Douglas302765
Benton272518
Jefferson205932
Coos196631
Columbia153326
Union141124
Lincoln129720
Wasco128628
Hood River112429
Morrow107815
Clatsop8838
Crook86819
Baker85114
Curry5919
Tillamook5763
Lake4137
Grant4044
Harney3046
Wallowa1575
Sherman570
Gilliam551
Wheeler251
Unassigned00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 3714587

Reported Deaths: 60922
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles122811823601
Riverside2972154525
San Bernardino2944644544
San Diego2745663662
Orange2687624886
Santa Clara1167722013
Kern1077641317
Sacramento1010581646
Fresno1004311642
Alameda850891475
Ventura802301000
San Joaquin714311334
Contra Costa66839781
Stanislaus603061028
Tulare49383829
Monterey43260352
San Mateo41050560
San Francisco35947517
Santa Barbara33830446
Solano31875239
Merced31196452
Sonoma29632311
Imperial27920718
Kings22755245
Placer21751283
San Luis Obispo20917256
Madera16234239
Santa Cruz15554203
Marin13851226
Yolo13547199
Shasta11677217
Butte11529196
El Dorado9688109
Napa965479
Sutter9268109
Yuba609844
San Benito596963
Lassen566624
Tehama543056
Nevada444775
Tuolumne406664
Mendocino398747
Amador361646
Humboldt358737
Lake339943
Glenn235425
Colusa219216
Calaveras205551
Siskiyou194021
Inyo141738
Del Norte12747
Mono12734
Plumas6906
Modoc4884
Mariposa4197
Trinity3985
Sierra1100
Alpine880
Unassigned610
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