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Lockdown imposed on Josephine County Jail after inmate tests positive for COVID-19

An inmate at the Josephine County Jail has tested positive for COVID-19, prompting a lockdown at the facility while all adults in custody and jail staff are tested, according to a news release.

Five adults in custody at the jail became symptomatic for influenza on Oct. 30, prompting a protocol where the five individuals were put in “negative airflow cells,” and tested for COVID-19, the release said. The results of those tests, returned to the Josephine County Sheriff’s Office at 11 a.m. Wednesday, showed a positive result and four negative results.

The identity of the individual who tested positive was not released, but the sheriff’s office reported he has been in custody since mid-September. Test results should be known within 72 hours.

“This has been done in an attempt to get a baseline as to the extent of possible infection, so appropriate action can be taken,” the release said.

Josephine County reported 10 new total cases of the illness Thursday, increasing the county’s total to 291. County public health officials are “actively monitoring” 30 cases, where the additional 261 patients are no longer considered infectious.

The Oregon Health Authority reported 805 new cases of the disease across the state, a new daily record for Oregon. The agency also reported five more deaths, raising the state’s death toll to 710.

Jackson County Public Health reported 67 new cases of COVID-19 Thursday. The county also removed two previously reported cases, finding they were duplicates during a quality assurance process. The adjustments and new cases bring Jackson County’s total number of cases to 2,114. Of that amount, 415 patients were still considered infectious. There have been 140 total hospitalizations and eight deaths from the illness in Jackson County.

County public health officials also reported another weekly record number of cases, with 245 the week of Oct. 25-31. That’s a 39% increase from the previous week’s 176 cases.

The county’s test positivity rate has also increased, rising from 8.1% the week of Oct. 18-24 to 10.5% the week of Oct. 25-31, according to data.

Health officials continued to point to “social gatherings of various sizes” as a key reason for the increased number of cases and urged area residents to wear protective facial coverings and practice physical distancing. Those who have tested positive for COVID-19 should not attend gatherings, and those who hold them should cap attendance at 10, per state guidelines.