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Jackson County reports 90 new COVID-19 cases

Jackson County reported 90 new COVID-19 cases Friday.
OHSU: State COVID-19 hospitalizations will remain high into December

Jackson County Public Health reported 90 new COVID-19 cases Friday and three more COVID-19-related deaths, including two 58-year-old men, and an 84-year-old man. All had underlying health conditions, according to Jackson County Public Health.

The Oregon Health Authority reported 2,113 new COVID-19 cases and 21 more deaths statewide. The people who died ranged in age from 30 to 94.

Oregon hospitals will continue to remain under severe strain from the current surge of COVID-19 cases well into the fall, according to an updated forecast released Thursday by Oregon Health & Science University.

The current surge, fueled by the highly contagious delta variant, is slowly beginning to abate as the virus finds fewer people who aren’t immune either through vaccination or recent infection. However, the new forecast indicates hospitalizations will remain at extremely high levels at least until Oct. 5 and will stay high well into December, OHSU said.

The forecast shows the number of hospitalized COVID patients falling from 939 Thursday to just below 600 by Oct. 5. The highest previous peak in statewide hospitalizations was 584 during the winter surge in cases, before vaccines were widely available, OHSU said.

The forecast shows that hospitalizations won’t fall to the peak of the spring 2021 surge in cases — 351 hospitalized statewide — until Dec. 11.

Oregon hit a peak of 1,178 people hospitalized statewide Sept. 1.

Asante, which runs three hospitals in Jackson and Josephine counties, said Friday that hospitalizations at Asante have been declining. The health network urged the public to continue taking precautions to slow the spread of the virus and to help prevent hospitalizations and deaths by getting vaccinated.

On Friday, 82% of Asante patients hospitalized with COVID-19 were unvaccinated, 94% of COVID-19 patients in intensive care were unvaccinated, and 100% of COVID-19 patients on ventilators were unvaccinated. Over the last 90 days, 85% of COVID-19-related deaths occurred among unvaccinated people, Asante said.

With school back in session, OHSU reported this week that Oregon has a relatively low number of children with COVID-19 compared to other states.

Peter Graven, lead data scientist in OHSU’s Business Intelligence Unit, said his data suggest that children are protected when adults surrounding them are vaccinated. Children younger than 12 are not yet eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine outside of a clinical trial.

“We are seeing that one of the best ways to keep kids out of the hospital is to have high vaccination rates across the population,” Graven said.

In Oregon, kids are catching the COVID-19 virus at rates that are roughly equal to their percentage of the population. The number of childhood cases began spiking this summer along with adult cases.

The most recent OHA report said pediatric cases made up 22% of COVID-19 cases for all age groups during the week that started Sept. 12. Youths younger than 18 make up 20.3% of Oregon’s population, according to the pediatric case report.

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