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Jackson County reports 58 new COVID-19 cases

COVID-19 hospitalizations falling in Rogue Valley

Jackson County reported 58 new COVID-19 cases Thursday and one COVID-19-related death.

Josephine County logged 38 new cases and no deaths.

Statewide, the Oregon Health Authority reported 856 new cases Thursday and 59 more COVID-19-related deaths.

Information wasn’t immediately available Thursday about whether all the deaths were new, or if the state was catching up on some previously unreported deaths.

UPDATE: OHA’s Thursday report of COVID-19-related deaths included previously unreported deaths from December and January, along with new deaths from this month. The one reported death in Jackson County was of a 79-year-old woman who passed away Feb. 22 at Providence Medford Medical Center. She had underlying conditions, according to information released by OHA on Friday.

The number of Oregon hospital patients with the virus continues to fall, dropping from 579 Wednesday to 528 Thursday, according to OHA data.

Numbers are also falling in the Rogue Valley. Jackson and Josephine county hospitals were caring for 67 COVID-19 patients Wednesday. The count declined to 56 Thursday, according to hospitalization data.

The number of Oregonians hospitalized with COVID-19 continues to decline and will reach levels last seen before the arrival of the highly contagious omicron variant around March 12, according to a new forecast released Thursday by Oregon Health & Science University.

The latest forecast shows that statewide hospitalizations will fall to 400 by March 12 — about a week earlier than the last forecast.

“It’s dropping extremely quickly,” said Peter Graven, director of the OHSU Office of Advanced Analytics. “It’s good news, and we’re hoping it eases the strain on hospitals sooner than expected.”

During the latest surge triggered by the omicron variant of the virus, COVID-19 hospitalizations peaked at 1,130 patients in Oregon Jan. 27.

Data show Oregon’s omicron peak was the fourth-lowest in the nation on a population-weighted basis, OHSU said.

Data show that Oregonians took actions to reduce the spread of infection and that, even though Oregon hospitals remain strained, the impact was less severe than in other areas of the country, OHSU said.

“It’s clear that Oregon appears to be one of the top performers nationwide during omicron,” Graven said.

Gov. Kate Brown announced Thursday she will lift the state’s indoor mask requirement March 19, including in schools. She previously planned to end mandatory masking in schools March 31.

Brown said she will lift her COVID-19 emergency declaration April 1.

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