Jackson County to remain at 'extreme' risk for COVID-19
Jackson and Josephine counties will stay in the “extreme” risk category for transmission of COVID-19 until at least Feb. 25, according to Gov. Kate Brown.
Ten Oregon counties improved from the “extreme” category. Nine, including Klamath, Deschutes, Clackamas, Clatsop, Hood River, Linn, Multnomah, Columbia, and Washington, moved one step up to “high” risk. Morrow County moved two steps up to “moderate” risk. Jackson and Josephine are part of a 14-county list still at “extreme,” a designation 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.
Some senior citizens showed up at The Expo on Monday — the first day that those 80 and older became eligible in Oregon for the COVID-19 vaccine. There was no vaccine there for them, said Jackson County Emergency Operations Center Director John Vial.
A drive-thru vaccination event doesn’t start at The Expo until Thursday, and the three-day event is only for people with ties to health care, nursing homes and education who received a first dose at a January drive-through event there. Only second doses will be provided this week at The Expo.
The federal government is not shipping enough COVID-19 vaccine to Oregon to meet the demand, especially as the state gradually opens up vaccination to senior citizens this month. Oregon also shifted some of the supply in the state away from Jackson County toward counties that are struggling to vaccinate their health care workers.
Many senior citizens are striking out in their effort to make vaccination appointments in Jackson County and statewide.
“It is a source of frustration for people right now,” Vial said.
The local Asante health care system is currently not making appointments for senior citizens to receive their first shot. Asante is using limited supplies it gets from the state to administer second doses at the smaller vaccination clinics it operates. Asante is also helping with the large second-dose drive-thru vaccination event at The Expo.
Jackson County Public Health reported 19 new cases of the illness Tuesday, raising the local cumulative total to 7,764. The county’s death toll remained at 105. There were 21 COVID-19 patients hospitalized in Jackson and Josephine county hospitals, one fewer than Monday, with four patients in intensive care unit beds, also one fewer than Monday.