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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: 357526

Reported Deaths: 4284
CountyCasesDeaths
Multnomah55810707
Washington38782324
Marion36837455
Clackamas29779309
Lane27744302
Jackson23059310
Deschutes20336125
Umatilla14492150
Linn12911131
Douglas12118243
Josephine9384196
Yamhill8715113
Klamath8020119
Polk737381
Malheur563677
Benton549431
Coos503794
Columbia382644
Jefferson376052
Lincoln319939
Union319549
Crook291846
Wasco288841
Clatsop244328
Baker203529
Tillamook196932
Hood River192837
Morrow185023
Curry180625
Harney113927
Grant100013
Lake93912
Wallowa68612
Gilliam1544
Sherman1523
Wheeler1121
Unassigned00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 4850807

Reported Deaths: 71341
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles148419226540
Riverside3716705041
San Diego3673614183
San Bernardino3586775692
Orange3242885562
Sacramento1596362309
Kern1463481648
Fresno1463182094
Santa Clara1455431897
Alameda1206921400
San Joaquin1027761721
Ventura1010381167
Contra Costa1000181008
Stanislaus862991335
Tulare80375978
San Francisco54440649
San Mateo54168623
Monterey50911586
Solano46063341
Santa Barbara45223523
Merced42422581
Sonoma40997404
Placer39435429
Imperial36071766
Kings32938325
San Luis Obispo29973333
Madera23955285
Shasta23924352
Butte23818273
Santa Cruz21034221
Yolo20397248
Marin17706244
El Dorado17207149
Sutter13937175
Napa12898100
Yuba1011582
Tehama9534110
Humboldt9269109
Nevada916790
Mendocino766787
Lassen754347
San Benito744972
Tuolumne691790
Lake6631105
Amador547364
Siskiyou451246
Glenn438433
Calaveras391481
Del Norte358742
Colusa307618
Inyo214241
Mono16723
Plumas16607
Mariposa133916
Trinity88011
Modoc6895
Sierra1880
Unassigned1460
Alpine1050
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