MEDFORD, Ore. -- Local public health officials began announcing new confirmed cases of the coronavirus in southern Oregon and northern California as of Wednesday, April 8.
On Wednesday, Jackson County Public Health announced two new cases of COVID-19, bringing the countywide total to 41 cases. The day before saw no new cases in Jackson and Josephine counties, buoying hopes of a slowdown in the spread of coronavirus.
The agency said that it has been using the term “social distancing” to describe staying six feet apart from others, but has decided to change that following guidance from the World Health Organization. Instead, they will now be using the term “physical distancing” because it clearly describes keeping physically separated six feet from others.
"Physical distancing can prevent the virus from transferring to others, but it’s important that we keep our social and community connections," Jackson County said. "We encourage people to maintain social connections in ways that still maintain physical distance by connecting with each other through the internet and by phone."
By Wednesday, health officials' demographic data showed that only seven of the County's 41 cases had been hospitalized from the virus. Though some cases were found in people as young as 20-29, the vast majority occurred in people age 50 or older.
“We salute every worker providing essential services, and adult, teen and child who have been staying home, practicing physical distancing, wearing an alternative mask when out in public, washing your hands and isolating yourself when you are ill. Because of your efforts, we are protecting each other, the community and our healthcare system," said Dr. Jim Shames, Jackson County Health Officer.
Klamath County Public Health announced one new confirmed case in the county on Tuesday. The countywide total number of confirmed cases is now 22. Of those cases, 21 are active, and one has fully recovered.
"More testing kits are now in the county. Individuals who are not showing symptoms should not be tested," public health officials said. "The kits should be used to determine a diagnosis for a person with symptoms. As more testing happens, more positive cases will be found."
On Monday, Sky Lakes Medical Center said that it would expand its drive-up testing to anyone who appears, not just those with a doctor's order.
"It is important to look at the number of people who have been hospitalized, only three, in relation to the overall total of 22," Klamath County Public Health continued. "Evidence is showing that people may contract the virus and have no symptoms. They may infect others without realizing it. This is why it is important to continue the practices of staying home, social or physical distancing of six feet, disinfecting surfaces, and frequent handwashing."
Klamath County Public Health says that at this time 399 tests have been completed for COVID-19 in the county.
KCPH says that 14 of the confirmed cases are women, and eight are men. 3 of the 15 cases have been hospitalized for the virus.
At present, cases in Klamath County skew toward younger people — fairly unusual compared to other populations. Four cases have been between the ages of 20-29, seven in the 30-39 age group, three in 40-49, three 50-59, four 60-69, and one 70-79.
Josephine County Public Health officials announced no new cases of Coronavirus in the county on Tuesday. This leaves the countywide total number of cases at 16.
According to the City of Grants Pass as of April 3, three of the area's cases have completely recovered. One person has been hospitalized.
As of 7 a.m. on April 6, a total of 498 COVID-19 tests from Josephine County have been reported to OHA, and a total of 16 tests have been positive. More samples have been sent to approved labs, but results have not yet been returned.
On Sunday night, Curry County announced its first three confirmed cases of COVID-19:
"As of late this evening, Curry County Public Health has received information through Coos County Public Health of two Curry County residents who were tested for the COVID-19 virus. The tests were performed in Coos County and those tests were confirmed positive today for the Corona Virus (COVID-19). The two individuals have been self-isolating. Also this afternoon, Curry General Hospital notified Curry County Public Health of another confirmed COVID-19 case of a Curry County resident who has also been self-isolating. This is unrelated to the first two cases."
Curry County Public Health said it has been in contact with all three individuals, and all three are symptom-free. Those patients will be monitored daily.
As of Monday morning, Siskiyou County officials say that there are four confirmed COVID-19 cases in the county. Three of those people have since recovered from the illness.
There have been a total of 104 tests performed — 91 were negative, and nine are still awaiting results.
Total number of confirmed cases by county for the southern Oregon and Siskiyou County region:
- Jackson: 41
- Klamath: 22
- Josephine: 16
- Lake: 0
- Curry: 3
- Siskiyou: 4
Tune into NewsWatch 12 at 5:00 and 6:00 p.m. tonight for the most up to date Coronavirus numbers and information.