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21 more Oregonians die of COVID-19

Twenty-one more Oregonians have died of COVID-19, raising the state’s death toll to 1,283, the Oregon Health Authority reported Thursday.

The ages of the deceased ranged from 62 to 94, according to an OHA news release. Eleven were confirmed to have had underlying medical conditions.

The agency reported 1,339 new cases, raising the statewide total to 98,936 since the pandemic began. Gov. Kate Brown extended the ongoing state of emergency for 60 more days. The previous order, set to expire Jan. 2, has now been pushed to March 3, according to a news release. State officials refer to the state of emergency declaration as Gov. Brown’s “legal underpinning” to issue executive orders intended to mitigate spread of the novel coronavirus.

“As we near 100,000 cases of COVID-19 in Oregon, and with hospitals and health care workers stretched to their limits, there is no doubt that COVID-19 continues to pose a public health threat,” Brown said in a statement. “We continue to lose too many Oregonians to this deadly disease, including over 100 reported deaths in the last two days.”

The Oregon Health Authority reported 54 COVID-19 deaths Tuesday and 48 Wednesday, resulting in 102 deaths over a two-day period.

Statewide, 551 Oregonians were hospitalized with COVID-19 Thursday, a decrease of three from Wednesday, with 113 in intensive care.

In Jackson and Josephine counties, 55 COVID-19 patients were hospitalized Thursday, down three from Wednesday, according to OHA. Twelve people were in ICU, down three from Wednesday. In the two-county region, 51 of the 57 staffed adult ICU beds were occupied Thursday, while 399 of the 445 staffed adult non-ICU beds were occupied.

Jackson County reported 82 new cases of COVID-19 Thursday and removed two cases from its cumulative total, pushing the area’s total to 5,118 cases, including 772 patients still considered infectious.

Fifty-four Jackson County residents have died from the illness since the pandemic began.

Jackson County is one of 29 counties in Oregon still in the “extreme” risk category for COVID-19, due to rapid community spread. The county has been in the “extreme” category since late November. OHA officials will reassess after Dec. 31.

A county of more than 30,000 people is considered in the “extreme” category if the rate of COVID-19 cases during a 14-day period is more than 200 per 100,000 people. From Nov. 29 to Dec. 12, Jackson County had 1,029 cases of the disease, or 465 cases per 100,000 residents. The local test positivity rate was 8.4%.