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COVID-19 hospitalizations climb locally

Hospitalizations continued their climb locally and statewide on the same day the Oregon Health Authority recorded 305 new cases — including 28 new cases in Jackson County.

On Friday, there were 30 COVID-positive patients in Southern Oregon hospitals, according to Jackson County Health and Human Services.

The OHA no longer keeps past data of coronavirus hospitalizations for the state hospital region No. 5, which is comprised of hospitals in Jackson and Josephine counties, but Mail Tribune archives show that the number of patients is one that the region hasn’t seen in months.

The record for hospitalizations was set Jan. 2 with 69 patients, and had fallen to 39 by Jan. 28. By Feb. 4, hospitalizations had fallen to 29.

The OHA recorded 141 hospitalized patients, an increase by four from Thursday. Of those 141, 44 are in intensive care unit beds, an increase of six.

Since the start of the pandemic, 836 Jackson County residents have been hospitalized and 149 have died.

The Jackson County hospitalizations include nine who were 9 years old or younger, eight between the ages of 10 and 19, 41 people in their 20s, 59 people in their 30s, 67 people in their 40s, 141 people in their 50s, 168 people in their 60s, 172 people in their 70s, and 80 people ages 80 or older.

Jackson County Public Health encouraged locals to get vaccinated in a release Friday, noting that approximately .09% of the 2.1 million vaccinated Oregonians have tested positive for COVID-19, known as “breakthrough” cases, and only 31 — about .0001% — have died.

"COVID-19 vaccines reduce the risk of COVID-19, including severe illness and hospitalizations, among people who are fully vaccinated by 90% or more,“ the release states.

The Friday cases increased the statewide caseload to 211,998 and the local case total to 11,905.

State health officials also reported seven deaths from earlier this year, including that of a 70-year-old Josephine County man who tested positive Nov. 20 and died Feb. 3.

Josephine County Public Health announced the man’s death Thursday, stating that he died at an Arizona hospital, and had underlying conditions and had not been vaccinated.

The six other deaths, which bring the state’s death toll to 2,817, include individuals in their 50s, 60s, 70s and 80s who died between December and May.

State health officials say counting of death certificates take a prolonged time to process because COVID-19-related fatalities must be determined by a physician. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Washington then reviews the doctor’s determination before confirming the cause of death and reporting the final cause of death back to the state.