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Jackson County reports 298 new COVID-19 cases

COVID-19 hospitalizations dipping in most of Oregon

Jackson County reported 298 new COVID-19 cases Thursday and no new COVID-19-related deaths.

Josephine County reported 117 new cases and one additional death.

Statewide, the Oregon Health Authority reported 5,417 new COVID-19 cases and 18 more COVID-19-related deaths.

The number of patients with the virus in hospitals around the state continues its slow decline, dipping to 1,087 Thursday, according to OHA data.

Hospitalizations are still high, but the encouraging downturn indicates Oregon may have hit its COVID-19 hospitalization peak during the current surge driven by the omicron variant of the virus.

Almost all regions of the state, including the Rogue Valley, have fewer hospitalized COVID-19 patients than during their omicron peaks, according to state hospitalization data.

But in far Eastern Oregon, COVID-19 hospitalizations continue to rise, growing from 28 Jan. 31 to 43 Thursday. Hospitalizations there are now equal to the worst of that area’s delta-fueled COVID-19 surge in the summer and fall of 2021.

Despite the increase in patients, Eastern Oregon hospitals aren’t nearly as crowded as urban hospitals. Hospitals there were at 64% capacity Thursday.

On Thursday, hospitals were 91.8% full in the Rogue Valley, 97.4% full in the Portland region, 96.6% full in the Salem region, 88.2% full in the Eugene and Roseburg region, and 87.4% full in the Central Oregon region, according to hospitalization data.

Hospitals generally run at 60%-70% capacity in normal times, health experts say.

Even as the omicron surge wanes, hospital patient counts will likely remain elevated as hospitals catch up on surgeries and other procedures that have been delayed during the spike.

Unvaccinated people are the minority in Jackson and Josephine counties, but they made up 66% of people with the virus in Asante hospitals Thursday and 89% of COVID-19 patients in intensive care units. All six COVID-19 patients on ventilators were unvaccinated, Asante said.

In the past 90 days, unvaccinated people accounted for 84% of COVID-19-related deaths at Asante’s three hospitals in Jackson and Josephine counties, the hospital network reported.

Across Oregon, the percent of COVID-19 tests coming back positive dipped to 17.4% Thursday, down from percentages that hovered around 25% when omicron cases were spiking, according to OHA data.

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