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Nine COVID-19 cases linked to White City plywood plant

On the first day of Jackson County’s two week “pause” in an effort to put the brakes on the coronavirus spread, health officials reported 50 new COVID-19 cases Wednesday and said they are investigating an outbreak at a plywood processing plant in White City.

With the 50 new cases — and removal of two earlier cases — the county total is up to 2,484 cases. Of those, 591 are believed to be infectious.

Health officials say social gatherings have contributed to the spread, with contact tracers reporting some patients attended Halloween parties. Other cases are linked to outbreaks in local workplaces.

Nine COVID-19 cases have been linked to a workplace outbreak at Plycem USA, according to a Jackson County Health and Human Services press release. Seven employees at the White City plywood business and two close contacts of employees have tested positive for the coronavirus.

Public Health officials are in the “planning process” to address a dramatic rise in hospitalizations that’s overwhelming the local health care system, according to the release. The county will announce ways that their “process may change” later this week.

Health officials recommend that anyone with symptoms such as trouble breathing, persistent pain or pressure in their chest, inability to walk, onset of confusion or bluish coloration to their lips and face seek medical care immediately.

Eight Jackson County residents have died since the start of the pandemic.

Statewide, the Oregon Health Authority recorded 876 new coronavirus cases and five new deaths Wednesday.

The new cases included 298 in Multnomah County, 102 in Washington County, 83 in Marion County, 67 in Clackamas County, 51 in Lane County, 32 in Douglas and Umatilla counties, 31 in Yamhill County, 19 in Deschutes County, 11 in Benton County, 10 in Coos and Linn counties, eight in Baker and Malheur counties, seven in Columbia County, five in Grant and Lake counties, three in Curry and Josephine counties, two in Clatsop, Hood River, Klamath, Morrow, Tillamook and Wallowa counties, and one case in Crook, Harney and Union counties.

The latest deaths included a 76-year-old Marion County man, a 92-year-old Marion County woman, a 100-year-old Multnomah County woman, an 81-year-old Multnomah County man and an 84-year-old Multnomah County man. Health officials are still verifying the presence of underlying conditions in the 84-year-old patient, and have confirmed underlying conditions for the other four patients.

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