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COVID-19 death toll climbs to 329 in Jackson County

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Jackson County public health officials Friday reported 52 new coronavirus cases and one new COVID-19 death — a 56-year-old man who tested positive Oct. 11, and died Wednesday at Providence Medford Medical Center.

The latest fatality brings Jackson County’s death toll to 329, and the new cases pushed the local case log to 23,809 since the start of the pandemic.

On Friday morning, 60 people with COVID-19 were hospitalized in Southern Oregon, according to Jackson County Health and Human Services. Of those, 18 were in intensive care, an increase of three from Thursday for Oregon hospital region No. 5 — composed of hospitals in Jackson and Josephine counties, according to the Oregon Health Authority.

Over the past two weeks, local hospitalizations have fluctuated from a high of 71 people with COVID-19 Oct. 25 to a low of 53 Wednesday.

According to Asante, 46 people were hospitalized at its facilities Friday, and 41 of them had not been vaccinated. None of the patients in intensive care or on ventilators at Asante had been vaccinated, the hospital system reported.

Of the 176 deaths reported over the past three months, only 28 had been vaccinated, officials said.

Pediatric versions of the COVID-19 vaccine — formulated for children ages 5 to 11 — are expected to arrive in Jackson County starting the week of Nov. 8.

Jackson County Public Health officials recommend that parents and guardians start contacting their pediatrician, primary care provider or pharmacist about scheduling appointments.

The new formulation of the Pfizer vaccine for children younger than 12 contains a third of the adult dose, and is administered to kids in two doses three weeks apart.

“The COVID-19 vaccine is safe and effective and protects kids from getting very sick from COVID-19,” a Jackson County Public Health press release stated. “The COVID-19 vaccine was found to be 90.7% effective in preventing COVID-19 in children ages 5 through 11.”

Possible side effects for children are similar to those for teens and adults: pain at the injection site, headache, tiredness and muscle pain.

“Rare side effects such as myocarditis were not seen in the trials leading to authorization and are expected to be rare, as they are in older age groups,” the Jackson County release stated.