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COVID spike alarms state

Jackson County racked up another 41 COVID-19 cases Monday, bringing the local total to 2,382 cases as the virus runs rampant at social gatherings and long-term care facilities.

Avamere at Three Fountains in Medford had 54 cases as of Nov. 3, including eight staff and 46 residents. The facility has had one COVID-19 fatality.

The outbreaks at Three Fountains and eight other facilities are being investigated by Jackson County Public Health.

Like the rest of the state, Jackson County has seen an upswing in cases, with 67 reported Sunday, 78 Saturday and 84 Friday.

Statewide, 50,448 cases have been reported, with 730 deaths. In Jackson County, eight have died from COVID.

On Monday, 732 cases were reported statewide, with four more deaths.

Local health officials say the increasing number of cases here and across the state is a result of more social gatherings such as birthday parties, weddings and other events. People who attend these gatherings often bring the virus back home, to their workplace, schools and churches.

Gov. Kate Brown issued a two-week pause on social activities in four more counties Monday to help stop the spread of COVID-19. Baker, Clackamas, Union and Washington counties joined Jackson, Malheur, Marion, Multnomah and Umatilla counties in a pause that will be in effect from Nov. 11 to Nov. 25.

“As we continue to see alarmingly high case rates reflective of sporadic community spread, now is the time to implement measures to further reduce gatherings and curb human contact,” said Gov. Brown.

If case rates don’t drop significantly, Brown said, the state risks further closures.

Under the two-week pause, the state has urged all businesses to mandate working from home where possible.

Long-term care facilities should limit indoor visits to protect staff and residents.

Restaurants should limit capacity to 50 diners, with a maximum of six at any one table. Outdoor dining is encouraged.

Indoor businesses such as gyms, skating rinks, pools and museums should limit the number of customers to 50.

Households should limit social gatherings.

The two-week pause affects counties with a case rate above 200 per 100,000 people over a two-week period, or more than 60 cases over a two-week period for counties with fewer than 30,000 people. Clackamas and Washington counties are being added to the two-week pause because of significant daily case counts in the last several days.

Jackson County surpassed 1,000 cases of COVID Sept. 17, but it more than doubled that amount in less than two months.

If the county continues its trend of adding 40 or more cases a day, it could surpass 4,000 by New Year’s Day.

The risk of severe illness from COVID-19 increases with age. Those in their 50s are at higher risk for severe illness than people in their 40s. Similarly, people in their 60s or 70s are, in general, at higher risk for severe illness than people in their 50s. The greatest risk for severe illness from COVID-19 is among those 85 or older. There are also other factors that can increase the risk of severe illness, such as an underlying medical condition.

Reach reporter Damian Mann at 541-776-4476 or dmann@rosebudmedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @reporterdm.