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Search and Rescue teams adjust their jobs during the pandemic

Southern Oregon Search and Rescue teams are taking extra precautions when going out and performing missions during the novel coronavirus pandemic.

Posted: May 26, 2020 6:39 PM
Updated: May 26, 2020 7:05 PM

ROGUE RIVER, Ore. — With the weather warming up and people tired of being stuck inside, folks may begin flocking to southern Oregon's beautiful waterways. Search and rescue teams in the area are also gearing up for more water rescue calls.

But the way Jackson and Josephine County Search and Rescue teams are responding to those, and other mission calls is a bit different due to the ongoing pandemic.

Both counties sheriff departments said they are issuing PPE to the team members and limiting the number of people per vehicle whenever possible. Additionally, both of the counties canceled all group training sessions for the foreseeable future.

"Well our biggest challenge is vehicles," Josephine County Sheriff's Deputy Maria Valdez, who also serves as the county's search and rescue coordinator said. "Just with limiting the people in the vehicles, it may look like we have a lot of vehicles but when we have all these searches come out we don't so that has been quite a challenge for me trying to figure that out."

That challenge is exacerbated when multiple calls in at once. Because of that, the Josephine County Sheriff's Department is asking people to take extra precautions when venturing outside. And with limited resources, people will need to be patient and stay calm as it may take search and rescue teams longer to get to the people who need them.

"You have to have a balance between searcher safety and getting the job done," Valdez said. "COVID-19 has added some additional challenges to where are searchers are at risk before they even get on scene."

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 11454

Reported Deaths: 232
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Multnomah273072
Marion177053
Washington176420
Umatilla9377
Clackamas92527
Union3682
Lincoln3625
Malheur2861
Lane2813
Deschutes2370
Yamhill1799
Jackson1730
Linn17210
Polk17112
Jefferson1600
Klamath1311
Morrow1311
Wasco1061
Benton1056
Hood River1030
Douglas580
Clatsop550
Josephine551
Coos520
Columbia470
Lake240
Crook181
Tillamook160
Wallowa130
Baker90
Curry90
Sherman30
Harney20
Gilliam10
Grant10
Unassigned00
Wheeler00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 310885

Reported Deaths: 6955
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Los Angeles1274393744
Riverside24765537
Orange22650412
San Diego18863420
San Bernardino18275304
Imperial7759132
Fresno762787
Alameda7485147
San Joaquin627968
Kern619597
Santa Clara5863166
Tulare5678152
Sacramento515279
Contra Costa446088
Stanislaus436450
San Francisco431650
Ventura409353
Santa Barbara386829
San Mateo3846112
Marin336430
Kings285539
Monterey241918
Solano207528
Merced179312
Sonoma156114
Placer102111
San Luis Obispo9054
Madera8578
Yolo83928
Santa Cruz5373
Napa4774
Butte3384
Sutter3374
San Benito3112
El Dorado3070
Lassen2610
Shasta1766
Humboldt1654
Glenn1640
Nevada1631
Yuba1633
Lake1081
Mendocino1070
Colusa1030
Tehama981
Calaveras670
Tuolumne640
Del Norte600
Mono491
Siskiyou410
Amador360
Inyo341
Mariposa311
Plumas170
Alpine20
Trinity20
Sierra10
Unassigned00
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