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Jackson County reports 22 new COVID-19 cases Wednesday

Jackson County reported 22 new COVID-19 cases Wednesday and offered advice for avoiding infection to the thousands of people who are staying in other places after losing their homes to wildfires.

The number of COVID-19 cases reported in the county has reached 1,091 with five deaths.

Oregon reported 193 new COVID-19 cases Wednesday, bringing the state’s total to 31,503. The state recorded six new deaths, bringing the Oregon total to 537.

The new deaths occurred among people ages 54-95 in Lane, Marion, Multnomah and Washington counties.

In the Rogue Valley, residents are scattered in hotels and shelters or staying with friends and relatives in the wake of the Almeda and South Obenchain fires.

For those staying in a shelter, Jackson County Public Health officials advise:

  • Practice physical distancing. Stay at least six feet from other people outside of your household.
  • Wear a mask, wash your hands often, cover coughs and sneezes. Avoid sharing food and drink with anyone if possible.
  • Follow disaster shelter policies and procedures designed to protect everyone in the shelter, especially those who are at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19, including older adults and people of any age who have serious underlying medical conditions.
  • Avoid touching high-touch surfaces, such as handrails, as much as possible. Wash hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use hand sanitizers with at least 60% alcohol immediately after you touch these surfaces.
  • Keep your living area in the shelter clean and disinfect frequently touched items.
  • If you feel sick when you arrive at the shelter or start to feel sick while sheltering, tell shelter staff immediately.

For people staying with friends and family outside your household, public health officials advise:

  • Talk to the people you plan to stay with about how you can all best protect yourselves from COVID-19.
  • Consider if either of your households has someone who is at higher risk of developing severe illness from COVID-19, including older adults or people of any age who have underlying medical conditions. Make sure everyone knows what they can do to keep them safe from COVID-19.
  • Follow everyday preventive actions, including covering coughs and sneezes, washing your hands often, and avoiding touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands. Consider taking extra precautions for people living in close quarters.
  • Know what to do if someone in your family or in the household you are staying with becomes sick with COVID-19. Jackson County Public Health contact tracers can offer information about how to self-isolate or quarantine.

Jackson County Public Health officials offered advice for everyone about how to tell the difference between symptoms of smoke exposure and symptoms of COVID-19:

  • Some symptoms, like dry cough, sore throat and difficulty breathing can be caused by both wildfire smoke exposure and COVID-19.
  • Learn about the symptoms of COVID-19 at cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/symptoms-testing/symptoms.html. Symptoms such as fever, chills, muscle or body aches and diarrhea are not related to smoke exposure. If you have any of these symptoms, it is recommended that you seek testing for COVID-19.
  • If you have severe symptoms, immediately call 911 or call ahead to the nearest emergency facility and notify the person who answers that you are seeking care for someone who may have COVID-19. Severe symptoms include trouble breathing, persistent pain or pressure in the chest, new confusion, an inability to wake up or stay awake and bluish lips or face.

Reach Mail Tribune reporter Vickie Aldous at valdous@rosebudmedia.com. Follow her on Twitter @VickieAldous.