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Jackson County reports eighth COVID-19-related death

Another Jackson County resident has died of COVID-19, Jackson County Public Health reported Wednesday.

A 69-year-old woman with underlying medical conditions tested positive for the illness Oct. 27 and died Nov. 2, at Providence Medford Medical Center, according to a news release. The death raises the local death toll to eight.

The county also reported it is investigating an outbreak of the disease at Andersen Construction Company in Medford. Public health officials began an investigation into the outbreak Oct. 20. As of Wednesday, they had identified 13 cases among employees, with three cases among close contacts of some employees.

The county reported 52 new cases of COVID-19 Wednesday, raising the local total to 2,049.

Counting Wednesday, Jackson County topped 50 new cases four times in the past week, with 70 new cases Tuesday — the daily record so far — 69 Friday, Oct. 30, and 54 Thursday, Oct. 29. Health officials continue to point to social gatherings “of various sizes” as a key culprit.

“People from these gatherings, who now have COVID-19, are spreading the infection to workplaces, schools and child care facilities as people continue their normal routines. Many people continue to work or send their children to schools and day care until they receive a positive lab report, possibly exposing others in the workplace, school and child care facilities,” Wednesday’s public health news release said. “It is critical that if someone has been around a close contact and have COVID-19-like symptoms, that they remain home and quarantine.”

Public health officials continue to urge area residents who “have COVID-19, are a close contact to a confirmed case, (or) have a pending COVID-19 test” to not attend gatherings and instead quarantine or isolate at home. The number of guests at a gathering should be capped at 10, per state guidelines, and individuals should continue to practice physical distancing and wear masks to mitigate the virus’s spread.

Oregon reported four more deaths from the disease Wednesday, including the one in Jackson County, raising the state’s death toll to 705.

The agency also reported 597 new cases, raising Oregon’s total to 47,049 cases. The majority of the new cases, 172, were reported in Multnomah County.

The Oregon Health Authority is investigating an outbreak at a Fred Meyer distribution center in Clackamas County that has so far sickened 39 people, including employees and close contacts. The investigation into the outbreak began Oct. 22.

“State and county public health officials are working with the company to address the outbreak and protect the health of workers,” the OHA news release said.