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Oregon daily COVID-19 count surges to 10,451

Jackson County logs 291 new cases

Oregon COVID-19 cases surged to 10,451 Friday, the fourth day in a row of record-breaking numbers as the omicron variant spreads across the state.

Friday’s new record may have been driven in part by the processing of backlogged cases that were received on Thursday, state officials said.

The Portland, Salem and Bend areas are driving much of the increase in cases, although counts are also high in the Rogue Valley.

Jackson County reported 291 cases Friday and no additional COVID-19-related deaths.

Josephine County reported 96 cases and two deaths.

Statewide, the Oregon Healthy Authority recorded 33 more COVID-19-related deaths.

On Friday, 649 people were hospitalized with COVID-19 around the state. Of those, 124 were in intensive care, with 46 on ventilators, according to state hospitalization data.

Oregon’s 5,315 hospital beds were 93% full Friday, with the Portland and Salem areas hardest hit at 98% full.

Hospitals in Jackson and Josephine counties were 92% full Friday.

The number of people with COVID-19 in Portland area hospitals began spiking Dec. 23. Numbers started spiking Dec. 28 in the Salem area.

The Rogue Valley is bumping up and down, but trending upward, hospitalization data show.

Unvaccinated people make up a minority of adults in the Rogue Valley, but they accounted for 83% of COVID-19 patients in Asante’s three hospitals Friday, 93% of COVID-19 patients in ICU beds and 100% of COVID-19 patients on ventilators, Asante reported.

Vaccination, especially if people get booster shots, helps prevent severe illness and hospitalization, including from the omicron variant, research shows.

Gov. Kate Brown announced Friday she is deploying up to 500 National Guard members to help hospital workers in the battle against the omicron surge.

“With more than 500 current hospitalizations and daily record-breaking numbers of COVID-19 cases, we are at another critical point in this pandemic — and the Oregon National Guard is stepping up again to assist,” Brown said.

The Guard members will help with nonmedical functions, such as running equipment and supplies to hospital departments and helping with COVID-19 testing.

Rather than being deployed, National Guard members with civilian careers in medical fields will remain at their jobs where they are needed in hospitals and other health care settings, state officials said.

Also Friday, the Oregon Health Authority issued a scoring tool to help hospitals decide who gets care and who doesn’t if they run short of critical care beds and equipment such as ventilators.

Among other factors, people who have the most chance of surviving until they are discharged from the hospital, and who have the least damage to their organs, brains and cardiovascular systems will be prioritized for care.

To avoid discrimination based on age or disability, hospitals are not supposed to consider a person’s projected lifespan or quality of life after leaving the hospital.

There are allowances for people with pre-existing conditions such as developmental disabilities and kidney failure so they don’t face discrimination.

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