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Jackson County reports 'alarming' rise in COVID-19 cases though vaccines increasingly available

Jackson County Public Health said that Wednesday's cases are the highest seen since the end of January. Meanwhile, there are appointments available for the vaccine.

Posted: Apr 21, 2021 11:26 AM
Updated: Apr 21, 2021 11:35 AM

MEDFORD, Ore. — Though Jackson County's capacity to administer coronavirus vaccines continues to grow, public health officials are sounding the alarm about a growing spike in COVID-19 cases to an extent not seen in months.

Jackson County Public Health reported 93 new cases on Wednesday, the highest daily total since January 28. The latest report brings Jackson County past 10,000 cases since the pandemic began more than a year ago.

"The increase in cases is incredibly alarming," said Dr. Jim Shames, Jackson County's health officer. "We are in a race between people getting vaccinated and the rapid spread of COVID-19 variants."

Shames underlined that mutations occur as viruses replicate, creating the new variants. Some of them — like the "UK variant," B.1.1.7 — are believed to spread even more rapidly than the original strain of SARS CoV-2.

"All currently authorized vaccines provide a good level of protection against SARS CoV-2, including the variant B.1.1.7. No vaccine provides 100 percent protection, but the current vaccines are highly effective at preventing people from getting the illness and becoming severely ill. We can help stop the spread of COVID-19 by individuals getting vaccinated as soon as they can with the vaccine that is available," said Shames.


RELATED: Most southern Oregon counties to remain on High Risk despite higher cases


Jackson County Public Health's vaccination site at the Expo has been expanding its ability to administer doses, particularly with the addition of a FEMA-backed community vaccination clinic that opened this week. The original public health site continues to operate as a walk-through clinic offering the Moderna vaccine, while the FEMA clinic operates as a drive-through site providing the Pfizer vaccine.

"We are encouraging people to get vaccinated as soon as they can. Now that everyone 16 years and older is eligible to get the vaccine, this means that our community can have greater protection against COVID-19, slow the spread of this virus, and return to some of the activities we have been longing to enjoy," said Tanya Phillips, health promotion manager for Jackson County Public Health.

Phillips stressed that the Expo site has "plenty of availability" for vaccinations. While appointments are encouraged, the walk-through Moderna clinic does not require them. The clinic is open until 6 p.m., Monday through Friday, with the last time slot at 5:45 p.m.

The Pfizer vaccine, offered at the drive-through site, is approved for people 16 and 17 years old. For the time being, the Moderna vaccine is approved for people 18 and older. Both sites have availability, Jackson County Public Health said.

In addition to the spike in cases, Jackson County reported two more deaths attributed to COVID-19 on Wednesday. A 42-year-old man tested positive on March 25 and died April 18 at Asante Rogue Regional Medical Center. A 67-year-old man tested positive on March 29 and also died April 18 at Asante.

The two latest fatalities bring Jackson County's death toll from COVID-19 to 129. Both men had underlying health conditions.

Officials said that they are also investigating a pair of workplace COVID-19 outbreaks. An investigation at the Murphy Softwood Veneer Plant that began on April 13 has produced nine linked cases, while a separate investigation at Goodwill that began on April 15 has found six cases. Both investigations are ongoing.

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 189162

Reported Deaths: 2514
CountyCasesDeaths
Multnomah37544577
Washington25097229
Marion21585304
Clackamas16908209
Lane12676145
Jackson10649132
Deschutes846573
Umatilla812184
Linn473067
Yamhill436875
Klamath421861
Polk367852
Malheur349061
Josephine329068
Douglas320570
Benton300019
Jefferson215033
Coos204232
Columbia168526
Union143923
Lincoln136720
Wasco136428
Hood River117430
Morrow109815
Crook104520
Clatsop9668
Baker93814
Curry6409
Tillamook6323
Grant5014
Lake4437
Harney3338
Wallowa1805
Sherman581
Gilliam571
Wheeler261
Unassigned00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 3753173

Reported Deaths: 62154
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles123474623977
Riverside2988724576
San Bernardino2963244677
San Diego2773233716
Orange2705694992
Santa Clara1186982084
Kern1088871367
Sacramento1040581670
Fresno1014911680
Alameda874071541
Ventura808121011
San Joaquin727841384
Contra Costa68279803
Stanislaus617761053
Tulare49514837
Monterey43506381
San Mateo41755567
San Francisco36577543
Santa Barbara34261453
Solano32698249
Merced31701454
Sonoma29951318
Imperial28295720
Kings22933246
Placer22532290
San Luis Obispo21243260
Madera16423242
Santa Cruz16062207
Marin14009228
Yolo13846209
Shasta12042226
Butte11907198
El Dorado10073111
Napa983381
Sutter9398111
Yuba621344
San Benito604663
Lassen569624
Tehama554558
Nevada467175
Tuolumne411564
Mendocino405948
Humboldt391539
Amador365047
Lake345843
Glenn238025
Colusa222416
Siskiyou215122
Calaveras211153
Inyo142538
Del Norte13637
Mono12794
Plumas7046
Modoc4944
Mariposa4457
Trinity3995
Sierra1120
Alpine880
Unassigned450
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