MEDFORD, Ore. — Jackson County set another record for coronavirus cases over last week, with no substantive increase in testing to account for it, public health officials said on Tuesday.
Between November 1 and 7, Jackson County Public Health identified 431 new cases — a 75 percent increase over the week prior. Case rates reached 195 cases per 100,000 in population, with the test positivity rate spiking to 18.1 percent. Actual testing capacity has remained steady, officials said, belying any thought that the spike in cases have been the result of increased testing.
Even with Governor Kate Brown and state officials relaxing school metrics at the end of October, Jackson County's case rates have been prohibitively high for any expansion of in-person learning. The metrics require a case rate of less than 50 cases per 100,000 over a two-week period, and a test positivity rate of under 5 percent.
Over the past two weeks, Jackson County has seen a case rate of 305.9 cases per 100,000 population.
Governor Brown's announcement last week of a two-week "pause" on certain activities in Jackson County carved out a space for schools to remain unaffected, but Jackson County has little enough access to in-person learning as it is.
"Jackson County is mirroring a trend seen statewide," Jackson County Public Health said on Tuesday. "Social gatherings of various sizes (often multi-generational) continue to play a significant role in our sharply increasing case counts. Reports of birthday parties, get-togethers with friends, weddings, etc. continue to occur. Attendees at these events then spread the virus to their homes, workplaces, schools, places of worship, etc."
Daily case counts this week have been slightly lower than those seen last week, with 41 new cases on Monday and 56 new cases reported Tuesday. Regardless, Monday's report included the alarming news of multiple outbreaks at local long-term care facilities, where residents are much more likely to be vulnerable to COVID-19.