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Oregon and Jackson County set COVID-19 records ... again

For the second day in a row, both Oregon and Jackson County shattered their daily COVID-19 records.

On Friday, Jackson County recorded 69 new COVID-19 cases, and Oregon reported 600 new cases across the state.

The county’s Friday case count surpassed the record of 54 set Thursday, while Oregon surpassed Thursday’s record of 575.

The 69 new local cases bring Jackson County’s case count to 1,865 — of which 314 are considered infectious, according to Jackson County Public Health.

With Saturday being Halloween, health officials recommend people stick to “lower-risk activities” such as carving pumpkins or holding Halloween movie nights with only people in the same household. They ask everyone to wear masks, maintain physical distancing and limit close contact, wash hands frequently and get a flu vaccination.

Jackson County Health and Human Services spokeswoman Tanya Phillips said the level of urgency behind those recommendations hasn’t changed.

“We always encourage people to stick to lower-risk activities,” Phillips said. “That’s always been our advice to people.”

Traditional trick-or-treating is considered a high-risk activity, according to the county, and the Oregon Health Authority recommends that Oregonians avoid traditional door-to-door trick-or-treating and similar events.

Those who participate in trick-or-treating are advised to wear face masks, maintain a social distance from those who don’t live in the same household, and wash hands before handling treats.

Jackson County Medical Director Dr. Jim Shames was not available for comment Friday because of “current case activity,” but in quotes contained in a Jackson County press release he stated that the rate of infection has steadily increased over the past three weeks while the number of tests has stayed consistent between 2,000 and 2,140 per week.

“The increase in the test positivity rate tells us that we truly have a rise in cases and that it is not due to the volume of tests performed in Jackson County,” Shames stated in the release.

Broken down by age group, the 314 active cases include 13 children younger than 9, 16 youths between 10 and 19, 55 people in their 20s, 45 people in their 30s, 45 people in their 40s, 36 people in their 50s, 22 people in their 60s, 14 people in their 70s and eight people older than 80.

The hospitalization rate has risen by a dozen over the past week, with 127 hospitalizations recorded since the start of the pandemic. The 127 hospitalized people include three children younger than 9, nine people in their 20s, 10 people in their 30s, 14 people in their 40s, 30 people in their 50s, 22 people in their 60s, 19 people in their 70s and 20 people 80 or older.

Broken down by area, there were 582 cases in west Medford, 340 in east Medford, 207 in White City, 181 in Central Point, 98 in Eagle Point, 96 in Ashland, 54 in Talent, 34 in Phoenix, 25 in Jacksonville, 24 each in the cities of Rogue River and Gold Hill, and between one and nine cases in the cities of Trail and Shady Cove.

The 600 new cases across the state brings Oregon’s case count to 44,389.

Broken down by county, the latest cases included 152 in Multnomah, 91 in Washington, 45 in Clackamas, 44 in Marion, 34 in Lane, 26 in Umatilla, 24 in Deschutes, 18 in Linn and Malheur, 13 in Yamhill, nine in Klamath, seven in Polk, four each in Columbia, Douglas and Lake, three each in Baker, Clatsop, Crook, Hood River, Josephine, Morrow, Union and Wasco, two in Coos, Harney, Jefferson, Sherman and Wallowa, and one each in Benton, Gilliam, Lincoln and Tillamook.

The death toll rose by two Friday to 675. The latest deaths included a 95-year-old Linn County woman and an 83-year-old Multnomah County woman.

Reach reporter Nick Morgan at 541-776-4471 or nmorgan@rosebudmedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @MTCrimeBeat.