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Jackson County tops 300 COVID-19 deaths

Jackson County has had more than 300 COVID-19-related deaths during the pandemic.
County records 4 more deaths over the weekend

Jackson County has recorded more than 300 COVID-19 deaths during the pandemic.

Friday through Sunday, the county recorded four more deaths, bringing the pandemic total to 303, Jackson County Public Health said Monday.

Those who died were a 60-year-old man, two 68-year-old men and a 57-year-old man. All died at Medford hospitals and had underlying conditions, Jackson County Public Health said.

“Today, Jackson County has now recorded more than 300 deaths related to COVID-19,” said Tanya Phillips, Health Promotion Manager for Jackson County Public Health. “We send our condolences to everyone who has lost a loved one, a family member, a friend or neighbor.”

Dr. Jim Shames, health officer for Jackson County Public Health, emphasized the importance of taking measures to prevent COVID-19 cases and deaths.

“It is important that we do not lose sight of the fact that COVID-19 is a serious disease in Jackson County. Vaccine requirements and masking requirements are important tools to help prevent another 300 of our citizens from dying in the future,” Shames said.

The state requires the wearing of masks in indoor public spaces by almost everyone. The state also required health care workers and K-12 school workers and volunteers to get vaccinated or get a religious or medical exception by Monday.

Depending on their employer, some people with religious or medical exceptions are allowed to continue working with masks and other safeguards. Some employers are placing workers on unpaid leave if there isn’t a possibility for them to be reassigned or work remotely.

Asante, Providence and the Medford School District reported last week the majority of their employees are vaccinated. However, some Rogue Valley workers who don’t want to get vaccinated have held rallies against the state vaccination mandate.

“We are in the midst of a serious worldwide pandemic that has its most serious effects on the elderly and on all ages of people that have underlying medical conditions,” Shames said.

Requiring vaccination for those who provide care for vulnerable people is in line with public health science that emphasizes keeping the public as safe as possible, he said.

Jackson County Public Health said vaccines are one of the greatest success stories in public health. Through the use of vaccines, the world has eradicated smallpox and nearly eliminated wild polio virus. The number of people who experience the potentially devastating effects of preventable infectious diseases like measles, diphtheria and whooping cough is at an all-time low.

Jackson County Public Health said vaccination requirements have been in place in the U.S. since the early 1800s with the development and use of the smallpox vaccine. George Washington required troops to be vaccinated against smallpox, and school children were required to have a smallpox vaccination before attending school.

These days, children in Oregon must get a range of vaccinations or get an exception in order to attend school.

From Friday through Sunday, Jackson County logged 149 new COVID-19 cases.

The state recorded 3,276 new COVID-19 cases over the weekend and 24 more COVID-19 deaths, including those in Jackson County.

Those who died ranged in age from 44 to 92, the Oregon Health Authority said.

For information on where to get vaccinated against COVID-19, call 211 for information for vaccine locations, visit the Oregon Health Authority Vaccine Finder site govstatus.egov.com/find-covid-19-vaccine or visit the Jackson County Health and Human Services jacksoncountyor.org/hhs/COVID-19/Vaccine-Appointments/where-to get-vaccinated-in-jackson-county.

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