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Jackson County now in 'rapid community spread' as confirmed COVID-19 cases rise to seven

Jackson County Public Health announced the new cases of COVID-19 in a press release on Friday morning.

Posted: Mar 24, 2020 9:55 AM
Updated: Mar 27, 2020 2:54 PM

MEDFORD, Ore. — Public health officials in Jackson County say that three more positive cases of the COVID-19 coronavirus have been found in the county, bringing the total to seven. Officials also released more details about the demographics of the cases they have seen so far.

"Of the three new cases, one is between the ages of 30-39 and two are between the ages of 70 to 79," Jackson County said. "All cases are believed to be community-acquired. Jackson County Public Health is working to identify and isolate/quarantine any individuals who may have been in close contact with the cases."

Three of the known cases in Jackson County are between the ages of 50-59, three are between the ages of 70-79, and one between the ages of 30-39, officials said. Fifty-seven percent are male and 43 percent are female. Two of the six cases acquired the infection through travel, but all of the latest five are from community spread.

“Jackson County has entered the phase of rapid community spread of Covid-19,” says Dr. Jim Shames, Jackson County Health Officer. “What we are seeing now reflects how well we accomplished personal distancing a week ago. How well we isolate ourselves now will determine how much illness we have next week.”

Previous statements from Jackson County have given few identifying features about the cases, which has been typical for public health authorities in southern Oregon up to this point. In past interviews, officials have cited privacy concerns as the reason for keeping these details confidential. In smaller communities, the risk of a COVID-19 patient being "outed" are much higher, likely to be accompanied by an unwarranted level of stigma.

Officials in southern Oregon have preferred to use back-tracking investigations to quietly contact any people who have been in close quarters with the individual, followed by quarantine and monitoring for symptoms.

On Tuesday Jackson County Public Health announced its third case — believed to be a result of community spread, the first case in the area not found to be travel-related.

"There is no known travel-related exposure or contact with a known case. Therefore, this is believed to be community-acquired," officials said on Tuesday. "Jackson County Public Health is working to identify and isolate/quarantine any individuals who may have been in close contact with the person in the last 14 days."

The first two cases were announced on March 7. Jackson County officials said that both were individuals that had traveled to areas with more active spread of the virus, and both were being isolated at home.


RELATED: Fifth person tests positive for COVID-19 in Josephine County


With the latest test results in Oregon and across the United States, there is more evidence of active community spread of COVID-19, and Jackson County said that this is something they have expected to see in Oregon and in Jackson County.

Governor Kate Brown released new executive orders that take additional steps to ensure that Oregonians stay home in order to slow the spread of COVID-19 on Monday.

Under the new executive orders are directives for individuals to maintain social distancing. These directives state during the ongoing state of emergency that, to the maximum extent possible, individuals are to stay home or at their place of residence.

"We understand the difficulties of practicing social distancing, this is not something we are used to doing, and we miss being close to family and friends," Jackson County said in a statement. "But, by practicing social distancing and staying home, we are slowing the spread of COVID-19 and protecting those who are more likely to suffer severe complications from COVID-19. Those most vulnerable are include adults 60 and older, or anyone with a serious health condition, including lung or heart disease, diabetes, or anyone who has a suppressed immune system."

Here are what individuals should and shouldn’t do:

Do:

  • Stay home as much as possible; this includes kids
  • Stay at least 6 feet away from others any time you are out
  • Go out only for essentials (groceries and medical care)
  • Exercise outside (hiking, biking) only if you can be 6 feet apart from others
  • Have video and phone chats
  • Drop food off to neighbors who can’t go out

Don’t:

  • Gather in groups
  • Get together with friends (no drinks or dinners)
  • Have playdates for kids
  • Make unnecessary trips

"Social distancing is the most critical action Jackson County residents need to take right now in order to slow the spread of COVID-19 and protect the health of the community," health officals said. "By slowing the spread of COVID-19, we are flattening the curve. The curve is the number of people projected to contract COVID-19. The faster the infection curve rises, the quicker the local healthcare system gets overloaded beyond its capacity to treat people. By slowing the infection rate, the infection curve flattens, allowing our healthcare system to operate and care for those who need it. Stay home and save a life."

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 31865

Reported Deaths: 539
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Multnomah7022136
Marion456992
Washington441759
Umatilla293941
Clackamas234661
Malheur158926
Jackson11094
Lane109616
Deschutes79312
Yamhill75013
Jefferson5218
Polk51515
Linn49513
Morrow4946
Lincoln47613
Union4392
Benton2946
Klamath2792
Wasco2793
Hood River2490
Douglas2244
Josephine1952
Columbia1551
Coos1490
Clatsop1310
Baker922
Crook621
Tillamook510
Curry310
Lake290
Wallowa281
Sherman180
Harney120
Grant90
Gilliam80
Unassigned00
Wheeler00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 799516

Reported Deaths: 15393
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Los Angeles2644146455
Riverside578831179
San Bernardino53359918
Orange526221182
San Diego45596773
Kern31712360
Fresno28019362
Sacramento21872399
Alameda20951397
Santa Clara20756304
San Joaquin20126437
Stanislaus16436345
Contra Costa16238204
Tulare15829259
Ventura12591146
Imperial11741317
San Francisco1094699
San Mateo9714144
Monterey970170
Santa Barbara8973113
Merced8828140
Kings756977
Sonoma7262120
Marin6641114
Solano627863
Madera445865
Placer353544
San Luis Obispo347929
Butte279043
Yolo278255
Santa Cruz22949
Sutter168911
Napa165313
San Benito132111
Yuba11367
El Dorado10884
Mendocino89418
Shasta75916
Lassen7360
Glenn5713
Tehama5334
Lake53011
Nevada5286
Colusa5246
Humboldt4967
Calaveras31414
Amador29616
Tuolumne2274
Inyo18715
Mono1652
Siskiyou1630
Del Norte1381
Mariposa752
Plumas500
Modoc250
Trinity150
Sierra60
Alpine20
Unassigned00
Medford
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