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Fifty-four more Oregonians die of COVID-19

Fifty-four more Oregonians have died of COVID-19, the Oregon Health Authority reported Tuesday.

Oregon’s death toll increased to 1,214. The ages of the 54 people ranged from 39 to 97, with 37 confirmed to have had underlying health conditions.

“Today’s record-high death toll tragically reminds us that the pandemic is far from over despite the arrival of vaccines in Oregon,” said Oregon Health Authority Director Patrick Allen in a news release. “These Oregonians and the ones who passed before them were loved ones who will be dearly missed by their families, for whom we express our sincerest condolences.”

Officials will begin administering vaccines in Oregon Wednesday, starting with front line health care workers, according to Gov. Kate Brown. Information on when the vaccine will make its way to Jackson and Josephine counties was not immediately available.

“We are not yet able to confirm additional sites. We will have more information in the next few days,” OHA spokesman Jonathan Modie said in an email.

Officials pointed to November’s rising case count as one factor in Tuesday’s high number of deaths.

“The counting of deaths from death certificates may take time to process because they are determined by physicians and then sent to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for further review before the cause of death is ultimately determined,” a news release said. “Once this information is confirmed, the information is reported back with a final cause of death to states. This lagging indicator is now being captured (Tuesday.)”

OHA officials reported 1,129 new cases of the illness Tuesday, raising Oregon’s total to 96,092.

Two of Tuesday’s reported deaths were of Jackson County residents, OHA and Jackson County Public Health reported.

An 88-year-old woman who tested positive Nov. 9 died Dec. 3 at Providence Medford Medical Center. It wasn’t known whether she had underlying medical conditions.

An 89-year-old woman who tested positive Nov. 16 died Dec. 9 at her home. She had underlying medical conditions. The fatalities raised the local COVID-19 death toll to 52.

County health officials reported 86 new cases Tuesday, and removed five other cases from the cumulative tally. The new cases and adjustment increased the county’s total to 4,978 cases, including 771 patients considered infectious.

A 94-year-old Josephine County man who tested positive Dec. 3 died Dec. 14 at Three Rivers Medical Center in Grants Pass. He had underlying health conditions. The death raised Josephine County’s COVID-19 death toll to 12.

There were 54 patients hospitalized with COVID-19 in Jackson and Josephine counties Tuesday, a decrease of six from Monday, according to Oregon Health Authority data. Of those, 16 were hospitalized in intensive care, a number unchanged from Monday.

Forty-seven of the two-county region’s 57 staffed adult ICU beds were occupied Tuesday, while 394 of the region’s 445 adult non-ICU beds were occupied, according to OHA data.

There were 544 Oregonians hospitalized with COVID-19 statewide, an increase of five from Monday, according to OHA data. Of those, 112 were in ICU, a decrease of nine from Monday.