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COVID-19 cases linked to parties in Jackson County

Jackson County reported five new COVID-19 cases Monday, following a daily record for the county of 16 cases Sunday.

“We’re certainly seeing the after-effects of get-togethers and various parties,” said Dr. Jim Shames, the county’s medical director.

Across the state, public health officials worried Fourth of July celebrations could be followed by a wave of COVID-19 cases.

Shames said a variety of celebrations are pushing numbers up, including graduation parties.

He said some people are still behaving as they did before the pandemic hit, when they would get an invitation to a party and then invite other people along — swelling the number of people attending beyond what the hosts expected.

“You end up not knowing half the people at the party,” Shames said. “We can’t do that now. It puts us at risk.”

He said the situation is making it hard for contact tracers to track down the people who might have come into contact with an infected person. Without effective contact tracing, people won’t know they need to isolate themselves to avoid spreading the virus.

“If you can’t contact trace, you lose one of the tools in the battle against COVID-19,” Shames said.

At this point, he noted, the tools humans have to control the virus are limited. They include hand washing, physical distancing, wearing masks, testing and contact tracing.

The benefits of testing are waning due to a nationwide shortage of testing supplies.

Some results aren’t coming back for 7-10 days because of bottlenecks in the process, Shames said.

“Testing is becoming problematic because we don’t have enough material,” he said.

Statewide, Oregon reported 277 new confirmed and presumptive COVID-19 cases Monday, bringing the state total to 14,847.

The state’s daily record of reported COVID-19 cases was 437 July 8. However, Oregon hit close to that number with 436 new cases Sunday.

Oregon reported the deaths Monday of a 76-year-old man and a 92-year-old man, both in Marion County, bringing the Oregon death toll to 262.

Jackson County has had no COVID-19 deaths reported.

Jackson County public health officials are urging people to comply with state requirements and wear face coverings while inside indoor public spaces, as well as outdoors when six feet of distancing can’t be maintained.

County officials said wearing a face covering protects people around you, including those at higher risk of severe illness and death from COVID-19 and workers who frequently come into contact with the public, such as in stores and restaurants.

The state is recommending but not requiring that children older than 2 and younger than 12 wear a mask, face shield or face covering.

People with disabilities that make them unable to wear masks should be offered reasonable accommodations, officials said.

Reach Mail Tribune reporter Vickie Aldous at 541-776-4486 or valdous@rosebudmedia.com. Follow her on Twitter @VickieAldous.