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Second UK coronavirus case reported in Oregon

A Yamhill County resident is the second Oregonian to test positive for the mutation of the coronavirus first discovered in the United Kingdom.

The resident had “no known travel history,” according to a release issued Saturday by the Oregon Health Authority.

The first Oregon patient to test positive for the coronavirus strain on Jan. 15 was a Multnomah County resident who similarly had no recent travel history, according to an earlier Oregon Health Authority report.

State health officials say that the strain, officially known as strain B.1.1.7., is “considered to be more contagious” than the virus that causes COVID-19, but recommend that locals take similar precautions such as maintaining six feet of physical distance, wearing a face covering when outside the home, practicing good hand hygiene and avoiding gatherings of people from different households.

Across Oregon, public health officials recorded 775 new COVID-19 cases and 13 new deaths Saturday, bringing the latest case count to 137,600 and the death toll to 1,877.

Within those new statewide numbers were 49 new cases in Jackson County, bringing the latest local case count to 7,125.

Since the start of the pandemic, 476 Jackson County residents have been hospitalized for COVID-19 related complications and 95 residents have died, according to Jackson County Health and Human Services numbers.

As of Saturday morning there were 37 patients in Oregon’s hospital region 5 — comprised of hospitals in Jackson and Josephine counties — according to numbers provided by Jackson County Public Health.

The number is an increase by two cases over Friday, according to local health officials. Of those patients, 17 are in Southern Oregon Intensive Care Units — an increase of three over Friday — but local health officials say the total number of patients in hospital beds fluctuate, and that the numbers don’t capture admissions per day or length of hospital stays.

The number of local patients dropped to 33 COVID-positive patients Tuesday, according to Oregon Health Authority data. The hospital region hadn’t dipped below 35 since Nov. 12.

The highest number of hospitalized coronavirus patients was Jan. 2 with 69 patients in hospital region 5.

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