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Jackson County uses multiple methods to mitigate COVID-19 spread

Thank you for continuing to post the numbers regarding COVID-19 in Jackson County. We note that the active cases are currently around 200 and have remained at that level for a while. What kind of tracking is done by the health department in Jackson County? We would like to know what protections are in place to mitigate our risk of being exposed to these active cases. Are the active cases isolating at home, are they working at businesses where we might be exposed? Are they able to be out and about?

— Via email

Here’s how the process works, according to Tanya Phillips of Jackson County Public Health.

COVID-19 is a “reportable disease,” which means health care providers and laboratories are required to report test results for the illness to public health officials within one working day, Phillips said via email.

Public health officials contact each positive person to make sure they are aware of their diagnosis. They are told to isolate and not leave their home, and are asked questions to help health officials determine where they contracted the illness, and who else has been exposed.

When you’re isolating, you’re asked to not leave your home until you meet three criteria: no fever for 24 hours without the aid of fever-reducing medicines such as Tylenol; symptoms such as cough, shortness of breath and diarrhea have been improving for 24 hours; and at least 10 days have passed since the person either got sick or received their first positive test.

“Jackson County Public Health will follow up with the case to verify that they no longer need to be under isolation and officially release them from isolation to return to work or leave their home,” Phillips said. “If anyone cannot safely isolate and not expose others, Jackson County Public Health will work with the person to provide a safe place for them to do that.”

While public health officials use case investigations, contact tracing, isolation and quarantine to slow the spread of the disease, they need your help, too. Wear your mask in public, stay home if you’re sick, wash your hands thoroughly and frequently, clean frequently touched surfaces, and stay close to home. Also, limit the size of your gatherings.

“Currently, Jackson County Public Health continues to see clusters and outbreaks of COVID-19 associated with social get-togethers and gatherings. People often feel safe in a social get-together, and family and often let their guard down,” Phillips said.

Send questions to “Since You Asked,” Mail Tribune Newsroom, P.O. Box 1108, Medford, OR 97501; or by email to youasked@rosebudmedia.com. We’re sorry, but the volume of questions received prevents us from answering all of them.