MEDFORD, Ore. — Jackson County Public Health reported 84 new cases of coronavirus on Friday, again breaking single-day records amid a statewide surge in cases.
"The total number of cases in Jackson County are rising quickly, and our death rate is at eight and destined to go higher as well," said Dr. Jim Shames, Jackson County Health Officer. “It is time for each of us to do some soul searching concerning our personal behaviors which put others at risk.”
The new cases bring Jackson County's total case since the beginning of the pandemic to 2,198. At least 415 cases are still considered active infections. 140 people have been hospitalized since March, all but 10 added since the beginning of July.
The County's test positivity rate shot up to 10.5 percent over the last week of October, and is likely to drive even higher with the recent case trends.
“When you attend a birthday party, or a public gathering, or hang out with friends at a bar, the consequences are often tragic, even if you don’t see the results yourself," said Tanya Phillips, Health Promotion Manager for Jackson County. "We at Public Health do see those results. We can connect the dots from one infected person to others."
Health officials provided the two examples of the trends they've seen in contact tracing of late:
- A multi-generational family has a birthday party. Everyone is so happy to get together and celebrate this special event. Within the week, over a dozen family members are infected with COVID-19. Those people then go about their daily routines, attending work that includes working with vulnerable populations at nursing homes in the valley, and sending kids to daycare facilities. Soon you have outbreaks at these facilities. Some of those cases end up in the hospital, some are desperately ill, and at least one person has died from COVID-19.
- A church holds prayer events and attends out of area conclaves. Parishioners get infected and go back to their households and workplaces. The disease spreads all over the State. “Contact tracing is limited because of distrust of Public Health, and the actual number of affected individuals remains unknown, but dozens of cases are tracked to one or two individuals,” says Dr. Jim Shames.
“We are in this together. Your actions affect all of us, whether you see it or not, and frankly, whether you believe it or not. Please wear a mask. Please keep your distance. Please avoid indoor gatherings. Let’s do our part to keep our loved ones, our neighbors, and ourselves, safe,” said Dr. Shames.
Governor Kate Brown is scheduled to hold a press conference at 1 p.m. to address the surging cases, which will likely include new restrictions for counties that have seen the largest increases.