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Jackson County reports 50 COVID-19 cases

Jackson County Public Health reported 50 new COVID-19 cases Wednesday, increasing the the countywide caseload to 9,759.

The new local cases are among 308 Jackson County cases reported over the past seven days, according to a Jackson County Health and Human Services news release.

From March 21 to March 28, Jackson County saw a 17% increase in cases, according to Jackson County Public Health. Another 17% increase was reported from March 28 to April 4.

State hospitalization data show that local hospitalizations are rising.

Southern Oregon hospitals saw 32 COVID-positive patients Tuesday ― the most since Jan. 28 ― according to state health data for Oregon’s hospital region 5, which is composed of hospitals in Jackson and Josephine counties. The number dropped by four to 28 Wednesday.

The record for Southern Oregon was Jan. 2, when 69 coronavirus patients were treated in one day, according to Oregon Health Authority data.

Since the start of the pandemic, 660 Jackson County residents have been hospitalized for coronavirus-related complications.

According to the Oregon Health Authority, the coronavirus is spreading faster, with a reproduction rate of 1.12 during March, so each infected person is spreading it to at least one additional person.

According to Jackson County Medical Director Dr. Jim Shames, local health officials recommend that people protect themselves by getting the COVID-19 vaccine, wearing masks in public places, staying at least 6 feet away from others, avoiding crowds in poorly ventilated areas and washing their hands frequently.

“We are in a race between people getting vaccinated and the rapid spread of COVID-19 variants,” Shames stated. “We can help stop the spread of COVID-19 by individuals getting vaccinated as soon as they can with the vaccine that is available.”

Jackson County Public Health’s vaccination site at The Expo has plenty of the Moderna vaccine available. To schedule an appointment see jcorcovid19.org/VaccineAppointments or dial 211 for information.

The state’s latest COVID-19 outbreak report shows active outbreaks at four Jackson County workplaces and two Jackson County skilled nursing homes.

RAM Restaurant & Bar in Medford is linked to 10 cases in an outbreak investigation that began April 2, and the most recent symptom onset was reported April 5.

Erickson, Inc. in Central Point is linked to six cases in an investigation that began March 27, and most recent symptom onset was reported March 31.

Lighthouse Worldwide Solutions in Medford is linked to five cases in an investigation that began March 12, and the most recent symptom onset was reported March 21.

The state only reports workplace outbreaks involving five or more cases, and only for workplaces with at least 30 workers. According to the state report, local health officials work closely with staff at workplaces to isolate workers who are sick, quarantine workers who may have been exposed, and help the workplace implement changes to reduce the risk of transmission.

The two skilled nursing homes with active outbreaks are Hearthstone Nursing and Rehabilitation, which is linked to six cases in an outbreak first reported March 12, and Sapphire at Ridgeview Assisted Living, linked to three cases in an outbreak first reported March 23. Neither outbreak is linked to any fatalities.

The state considers outbreaks at skilled nursing homes no longer active after no new cases are identified for 28 days from the most recent case onset.

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