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Jackson County reaches 100 coronavirus deaths

With the addition of two coronavirus related deaths, Jackson County Public Health officials reached a grim milestone.

The deaths of an 86-year-old woman and a 96-year-old woman bring Jackson County’s COVID-19 death toll to 100, according to a Jackson County Health and Human Services release issued Saturday.

The 86-year-old woman tested positive for the virus Dec. 24 and died at her residence Jan. 1, according to health officials. The 93-year-old woman tested positive Thursday, and died Friday at Asante Rogue Regional Medical Center in Medford. Both women had underlying health conditions that contributed to their deaths.

Health officials separately recorded 47 new cases Saturday, bringing the latest case count to 7,459 in Jackson County. Of those cases, 495 Jackson County residents have been hospitalized since the start of the pandemic.

The number of COVID-positive patients in Southern Oregon hospitals continued the downward trend this week that started at the beginning of the month, according to Jackson County Public Health and Oregon Health Authority data.

On Saturday, there were 26 patients in Oregon hospital Region 5, which includes hospitals in Jackson and Josephine Counties, and 29 Friday, according to Jackson County Health and Human Services numbers. The last time there were fewer than 27 coronavirus hospitalizations was Nov. 8, according to Oregon Health Authority data.

As of Friday, there were 46 out of 57 intensive care unit hospital beds utilized in the Southern Oregon hospital region, according to Oregon Health Authority data, and 391 of 445 available non-ICU hospital beds.

Local health officials say that the total number of patients in hospital beds can fluctuate between report times, and that hospital staffing limitations may further limit bed capacity.