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Hospitalizations fall for sixth straight day

The number of COVID-19 patients hospitalized in Southern Oregon fell for a sixth day in a row.

On Thursday, 184 people with COVID-19 were hospitalized in Oregon hospital region No. 5, which is composed of Jackson and Josephine counties. Fifty-eight people were in intensive care.

The record of 223 COVID patients was recorded for the hospital region Sept. 1, according to the Oregon Health Authority.

The number of people in local hospital beds can fluctuate between report times, and health officials say the numbers do not reflect admissions per day nor the length of hospital stays.

The bulk of those local hospitalizations involved people who had not been vaccinated. Of the 147 people in Asante hospitals Thursday, only 12 had completed a COVID vaccination protocol.

Jackson County Public Health issued a news release Thursday stating that vaccines are the “best defense we have against infectious diseases” and addressed multiple baseless myths circulating on social media.

Local officials said receiving a COVID-19 vaccine does not make the recipient magnetic; the vaccines do not contain microchips; and vaccines do not cause a person to shed or release any of the dose’s components.

“Vaccine shedding is the term used to describe the release or discharge of any of the vaccine components in or outside of the body,” Jackson County Public Health stated. “Vaccine shedding can only occur when a vaccine contains a weakened version of the virus. None of the vaccines authorized for use in the U.S. contain a live virus.”

There is no evidence that vaccines, including COVID-19 vaccines, cause infertility in women or men, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

However, getting sick with the COVID-19 virus can damage the circulatory system and increase the risk of erectile dysfunction in men. Getting vaccinated can reduce that risk, studies show.

Dr. Justin Shelton, an obstetrician with Women’s Health Center of Southern Oregon, said large medical studies have shown the COVID-19 vaccine doesn't cause infertility in women, increase the risk of premature labor or harm the babies of pregnant women.

Pregnant women can help protect themselves and their babies by getting vaccinated. Antibodies created by a woman's body pass through the placenta to the baby, providing months of protection even after the baby is born, Shelton said.

Vaccination helps reduce the risk that pregnant women will get sick from the virus and need to be put in intensive care, have to go on a ventilator or die, Shelton said.

Jackson County reported two more COVID-19 deaths and 190 new cases Thursday, pushing the death toll to 230 and hiking the case total since the pandemic began to 19,781.

The latest deaths included a 60-year-old man who tested positive Aug. 5 and died Aug. 30 at his residence, and a 63-year-old woman who tested positive Aug. 10 and died Tuesday at Rogue Regional Medical Center.

Statewide on Thursday, the Oregon Health Authority reported 2,437 new COVID-19 cases and 21 new deaths.