MEDFORD, Ore. — Jackson County saw a new high for daily coronavirus cases on Wednesday, with public health officials reporting 614. The case count easily broke the record 416 cases posted less than two weeks earlier.
Hospitalizations also rose on Wednesday over the day prior, reaching 221 patients hospitalized with COVID-19 and 60 patients in an intensive care unit (ICU). This includes both Jackson and Josephine counties, organized as Oregon's Hospital Region 5.
The county also reported two more deaths attributed to the virus, bringing the county death toll to 192 since the pandemic began. A 69-year-old woman died August 23 at Asante Rogue Regional Medical center, and a 65-year-old man died August 23 at Providence Medford Medical Center. Both had underlying health conditions.
"Governor Kate Brown and Oregon Health Authority leaders enacted an indoor masking mandate in response to surging COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations on August 13," public health officials said in a statement. "Cases and hospitalizations continue to rise, reaching all-time record highs in Oregon and specifically in Jackson County. Yesterday, the Governor announced that the new rule would extend that mask requirement to outside areas."
The expanded mask requirement begins Friday, and means that masks will be required in most public outdoor settings where physical distancing is not possible, regardless of vaccination status.
"Jackson County Public Health and the hospital systems are encouraging the community to help slow the spread of COVID-19 and provide relief to the hospital system. The best way to stop the spread of the Delta variant is to get vaccinated against COVID-19 and wear masks," the agency said.
The Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine received full FDA approval earlier this week for people 16 and older, with emergency use approval still in place for those between the ages of 12 and 15. Moderna announced this week that it has completed submission to the FDA for full approval of its vaccine for people 18 and older.