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Jackson County enters two-week 'caution period'

Jackson County will enter into a two-week “caution period,” allowing a chance for a recent uptick in COVID-19 cases to go back down before state officials switch the county’s risk level back to “extreme,” according to a news release.

If new cases don’t dip below a rate of 200 per 100,000 people from March 7-20, the county will revert back to the “extreme” risk level March 26.

Between Feb. 7-20, Jackson County had a case rate of 174.9 cases per 100,000 people, which reduced its risk from “extreme” to “high.” State metrics say rates of 200 or more cases per 100,000 mean the county is seeing “widespread” COVID-19 transmission, resulting in the “extreme” risk designation.

From Feb. 21 to March 6, Jackson County’s rate rose to 214.2 cases per 100,000 people, according to Jackson County Public Health. The state recently announced a two-week period to allow counties to drop back down to a rate less than 200 positive cases per 100,000 people. If Jackson County’s numbers don’t improve, the risk level will go back up. The state will announce next steps March 23, which go into effect March 26, according to the release.

A return to the “extreme” designation would mean indoor dining at restaurants would not be allowed, with additional restrictions on indoor and outdoor entertainment establishments, places of worship and gyms, according to state metrics. Complete guidance can be viewed online at https://coronavirus.oregon.gov/Pages/guidance.aspx.

Jackson County Public Health reported 49 new COVID-19 cases Tuesday and added a case from a previously reported date to the county’s cumulative total, which rose to 8,654.

Oregon reported 517 new statewide Tuesday, raising the state’s cumulative total to 158,007 cases.

OHA reported 29 new cases out of Josephine County, increasing its overall total to 2,436.

Jackson County health reported another death from the illness Tuesday, an 83-year-old man who tested positive Feb. 5 and died March 5 at Rogue Regional Medical Center. Jackson County’s death toll from the disease rose to 119.

The Oregon Health Authority reported five new COVID-19 deaths bringing the statewide death toll to 2,303. Josephine County’s death toll remained at 56.

Sixteen people were hospitalized Tuesday with COVID-19 in Jackson and Josephine counties, one more than Monday, with six in intensive care, also one more than Monday, according to OHA.

Statewide, 134 Oregonians were hospitalized with the disease, 15 more than Monday, with 31 in ICU, two fewer than Monday.