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Multiple COVID-19 outbreaks reported at Jackson County long-term care facilities

Jackson County Public Health is warning of the dangers posed by social gatherings which appear to have spurred outbreaks at several long-term care facilities housing people particularly vulnerable to the virus.

Posted: Nov 9, 2020 12:43 PM
Updated: Nov 9, 2020 5:25 PM

MEDFORD, Ore. — Jackson County Public Health confirmed on Monday that it is investigating multiple coronavirus outbreaks at local long-term care facilities, apparently spurred by increasing spread from private social gatherings — inevitably bringing infection to places where people vulnerable to the virus live.

The agency says that it is currently investigating nine outbreaks at separate facilities. The one specifically identified by officials on Monday was Avamere Three Fountains, where testing has found a total of 54 cases, including eight staff members and 46 residents. One of the recent COVID-19 deaths in Jackson County was an Avamere resident, Jackson County Public Health indicated.

Small social gatherings with family and friends are still the main factor in increased spread, and public health officials say that those gatherings "play a significant role" in the virus reaching long-term care facilities. 

“The increase of outbreaks in long-term care facilities is a serious concern; these are our most vulnerable populations in these facilities. We must think about how our actions outside of work can have serious consequences for other people, especially when it is your job to care for vulnerable populations,” said Dr. Jim Shames, Jackson County Health Officer.

The Avamere investigation began on November 3, and Jackson County Public Health says that Avamere has been cooperating with the agency in its contact tracing efforts.

"Among adults, the risk of severe illness from COVID-19 increases with age," the agency said. "For example, people in their 50s are at higher risk for severe illness than people in their 40s. Similarly, people in their 60s or 70s are, in general, at higher risk for severe illness than people in their 50s. The greatest risk for severe illness from COVID-19 is among those aged 85 or older. There are also other factors that can increase your risk for severe illness, such as having underlying medical conditions."

Monday's report from Jackson County included a somewhat-subdued, but still high, count of 41 new cases, bringing the county total since the beginning of the pandemic to 2,382. At least 548 cases are still considered active infections, and hospitalizations are up to 156 since March.

Governor Kate Brown announced a two-week "pause" in five Oregon counties on Friday, Jackson County among them, in an attempt to curb surging spread of the virus without taking the more drastic step of rolling back reopening phases. That pause includes the following measures beginning Wednesday:

  • Urging all businesses to mandate work from home to the greatest extent possible.
  • Pausing long-term care facility visits that take place indoors to protect staff and residents.
  • Reducing maximum restaurant capacity to 50 people (including customers and staff) for indoor dining, with a maximum party size of six. Continuing to encourage outdoor dining and take out.
  • Reducing the maximum capacity of other indoor activities to 50 people (includes gyms, fitness organizations/studios, bowling alleys, ice rinks, indoor sports, pools, and museums).
  • Limiting social gatherings to your household, or no more than six people if the gathering includes those from outside your household, reducing the frequency of those social gatherings (significantly in a two-week period), and keeping the same six people in your social gathering circle.

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 396501

Reported Deaths: 5268
CountyCasesDeaths
Multnomah61066850
Washington42631406
Marion40277517
Clackamas33256388
Lane30473363
Jackson25211363
Deschutes23984192
Umatilla15155184
Linn14966184
Douglas13608295
Josephine10357248
Yamhill9878145
Klamath9120152
Polk8347103
Benton622940
Malheur593592
Coos5806109
Columbia441156
Jefferson426066
Lincoln367952
Crook343958
Union341456
Wasco319646
Clatsop265435
Baker222533
Tillamook219846
Hood River217237
Morrow198425
Curry194239
Harney121733
Grant109116
Lake106318
Wallowa76313
Sherman1933
Gilliam1854
Wheeler1161
Unassigned00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 5127121

Reported Deaths: 74911
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles153745027248
San Diego4104514351
Riverside3912955388
San Bernardino3784085998
Orange3367395771
Sacramento1699162460
Kern1588341838
Fresno1581872284
Santa Clara1536961933
Alameda1262241513
San Joaquin1084911837
Ventura1049251194
Contra Costa1046451058
Stanislaus922291434
Tulare869791102
San Francisco57458674
San Mateo56861631
Monterey52973626
Solano48014360
Santa Barbara47846555
Merced45506672
Sonoma43609414
Placer42736473
Imperial39148778
Kings35547369
San Luis Obispo31803360
Madera26511311
Shasta26353462
Butte25690320
Santa Cruz22540224
Yolo21792263
Marin18728249
El Dorado18544168
Sutter14691186
Napa13501107
Yuba1084791
Humboldt10360119
Tehama10329133
Nevada10187105
Mendocino873799
Lassen801259
San Benito793979
Tuolumne782691
Lake7073113
Amador583267
Siskiyou480757
Glenn460336
Calaveras449988
Del Norte380442
Colusa329821
Inyo259446
Plumas19679
Mono19274
Mariposa163318
Trinity102117
Modoc7956
Unassigned3820
Sierra2210
Alpine1080
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