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Southern Oregon vaccination rates, COVID-19 deaths on the rise

The COVID-19 vaccination rates in Jackson and Josephine counties have climbed a full percentage point in the span of a week, according to local health officials.

Between Aug. 25 and Sept. 1, the percentage of Jackson County residents 18 and older who have had at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine jumped from 59.3% to 60.3% — an increase of roughly 1,799 shots in that demographic to 108,196.

Josephine County rose from 53.0% to 54.0% in the same time period — an increase of 712 shots for people 18 and older to 38,380.

On Friday, 890 COVID-19 vaccinations were administered in Jackson County, the most since June 11, when the county logged 961 vaccinations in one day.

Of the people vaccinated in Jackson County, 96,655 have completed their vaccination schedules and another 11,541 are in process.

Of Josephine County’s vaccinated adults, 34,078 have completed their vaccination schedules and 4,302 are in process.

People are getting vaccinated now for a wide range of reasons, said Jackson County Health Promotion Program Manager Tanya Phillips.

"We've heard people were hesitant and they were waiting, and once they saw the impact of the delta variant, that motivated them to get vaccinated. We have heard stories of them being personally impacted and losing a loved one or seeing a friend or family member get severely ill and being hospitalized and that motivated them to get vaccinated," Phillips said.

She said Gov. Kate Brown's mandate that school and health care workers get vaccinated is also having an impact.

Nearly all K-12 school employees, parent volunteers and health care workers in Oregon must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by Oct. 18, according to rules issued by the Oregon Health Authority.

Jackson County Public Health and local hospital systems are urging locals to get vaccinated against COVID-19 and to wear masks when out of the house.

For information on where to get vaccinated, call 211 or visit the OHA’s vaccine finder website at govstatus.egov.com/find-covid-19-vaccine.

State health officials reported another 27 COVID-related deaths Thursday, including four in Jackson County and five in Josephine County.

The latest deaths pushed Jackson County’s death toll to 214 and Josephine County’s to 125, according to the OHA.

The latest deaths in Jackson County included a 62-year-old woman who tested positive July 27 and died Monday at Asante Rogue Regional Medical Center in Medford, a 69-year-old man who tested positive Aug. 3 and died Tuesday at Providence Medford Medical Center, an 83-year-old woman who tested positive Sunday and died Monday at Asante Three Rivers Medical Center in Grants Pass, and a 101-year-old woman who tested positive Aug. 11 and died Aug. 18 at her residence.

Jackson County reported 202 new cases Thursday, bringing its case count to 18,777. Josephine County reported 119 new cases, bringing its case log to 7,526.

On Thursday, 219 people with COVID-19 were in Southern Oregon hospitals — four fewer than Wednesday’s record of 223.

According to Asante, 92% of its 178 COVID-19 patients in Grants Pass, Medford and Ashland had not been vaccinated. All 17 patients on ventilators were unvaccinated.

Statewide, the Oregon Health Authority reported 2,449 new COVID-19 cases and 27 new deaths.