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Oregon reports 22 more COVID-19 deaths Tuesday

Oregon reported 22 more deaths from COVID-19 Tuesday, raising the state’s death toll to 1,902. The agency reported 796 new cases of the disease, raising the cumulative total to 139,355.

Jackson County reported two more deaths from the illness, raising the local death toll to 98.

The local deaths included a 91-year-old man who tested positive Dec. 27 and died Jan. 17 at his home, and a 64-year-old man who tested positive Jan. 10 and died Jan. 24 at Providence Medford Medical Center. Both had underlying health conditions.

Jackson County reported 49 new cases of the disease, increasing the local total to 7,237.

The number of patients hospitalized with COVID-19 in Jackson and Josephine counties dropped from 43 Monday to 35 Tuesday, with 12 of those patients in intensive care, a decrease of two, according to county data. Statewide, 308 Oregonians remained hospitalized with the illness, 12 fewer than Monday. Of that number, 70 were in ICU beds, five fewer than Monday.

Both Jackson and Josephine counties remain in the “extreme” risk category for transmission of the disease. The designation will stay in effect until at least Feb. 11, according to the Oregon Gov. Kate Brown. All but 11 counties are in the “extreme” category. Jackson County’s designation is determined by the rate of COVID-19 cases per 100,000 over 14 days and the percentage of positive tests over 14 days, according to state metrics.

“This is an important reminder for all Oregonians to continue to do their part by abiding by the health and safety guidelines in place,” Brown said in a news release. “Until vaccines are widely available with high participation rates, the surest way to lower our risk and open our businesses and communities is to continue practicing the measures we know are effective in reducing the spread of COVID-19 — wear your mask, keep physical distance from others, avoid gatherings, wash your hands often and stay home when you are sick.”

Brown announced guidance changes for indoor activities in counties under “extreme” risk, which go into effect Jan. 29. Excluding dining, they will allow for up to six people indoors at facilities larger than 500 square feet. Facilities smaller than that allow for “1:1 customer experiences, such as personal training,” the release said.