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Rogue Valley COVID-19 cases continue to fall

Second booster shots available for people 50 and older

Oregon Health Authority data for the week shows already low COVID-19 cases continued to drop off in Jackson and Josephine counties.

For Friday, March 25, through Sunday, March 27, OHA reported 24 new COVID-19 cases and no COVID-19-related deaths in Jackson County. OHA reported nine cases in Josephine County and the February deaths of an 88-year-old woman and 57-year-old man.

For Monday, OHA reported 13 new cases in Jackson County and the February death of a 58-year-old man. OHA reported nine cases and no deaths in Josephine County.

For Tuesday, OHA reported 18 new cases in Jackson County and the November 2021 death of a 56-year-old man and the March death of a 90-year-old man. OHA reported six cases and no deaths for Josephine County.

As state epidemiologists review deaths records, there is often a lag between a person’s death and OHA counting it as COVID-19-related. Some Jackson and Josephine county residents also passed away in out-of-state hospitals, which slows the reporting process.

For Wednesday, OHA reported 16 new cases in Jackson County and the January death of a 75-year-old man. OHA reported seven cases in Josephine County and the September 2021 death of a 45-year-old woman.

For Thursday, OHA reported five new COVID-19 cases in Jackson County, three cases in Josephine County and no Rogue Valley deaths.

On Friday, Jackson and Josephine county hospitals were caring for 12 patients with COVID-19.

Beginning this coming week, OHA said it will stop releasing a weekly report on COVID-19 outbreaks at businesses, nursing homes, schools and other settings used by the public. OHA will instead release an outbreak report every two weeks.

For its COVID-19 outbreak report released this week, OHA reported no active outbreaks in Jackson County workplaces or child care facilities.

To protect privacy, OHA releases outbreak information only on workplaces with at least 30 workers and five COVID-19 cases, or child care facilities that care for more than 16 kids.

OHA reported active outbreaks in some Jackson County nursing homes and retirement communities. The onset of some of the outbreaks dated back to December 2021, when the omicron variant of the COVID-19 virus first started sweeping through Oregon. The case counts are cumulative for each facility.

Facilities on the outbreak list were Avamere at Three Fountains (53 cases), The Springs at Veranda Park (23 cases), Linda Vista Nursing & Rehabilitation Center (40 cases), Rogue Valley Manor (16 cases), Weatherly Court (49 cases), Table Rock Memory Care Community (38 cases, one death), Memory Support Center at Rogue Valley Manor (14 cases), Fountain Plaza (20 cases, one death), Orchards Assisted Living (15 cases) and Horton Plaza (18 cases).

OHA reported recent outbreaks in K-12 schools where cases occurred within the past 28 days. Outbreaks in Jackson County were at:

Ashland High School (one student), Eagle Point High School (one student), Mae Richardson Elementary (one student, one adult), Griffin Creek Elementary (two adults), Rogue River Junior/Senior High School (one student), The Siskiyou School (one adult), Ashland Middle School (one student), Lone Pine Elementary (one student), Shady Cove School (one adult), Bellview Elementary (one student), McLoughlin Middle School (one adult) and South Medford High School (one student).

The number of outbreaks in nursing homes, retirement communities and schools is down substantially compared to January and February.

OHA’s mass vaccination walk-through site at The Merrick, 200 N. Riverside Ave., in downtown Medford, is still open to provide initial COVID-19 shots and booster shots. Free shots are available to everyone 5 and older.

Hours are noon to 7 p.m. Thursday through Sunday.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is recommending a second booster shot four months after their last shot for people 50 and older, plus people 12 and older with compromised immune systems.

Vaccination and booster shots are highly effective at preventing severe illness and death from COVID-19, research shows.

During the COVID-19 surge fueled by the omicron variant, people who had been vaccinated and received a booster shot were seven times less likely to be hospitalized than unvaccinated people, and 21 times less likely to die, Jackson County Public Health said.

Vaccinations are also available at Jackson County Public Health, 140 S. Holly St., Medford. People can walk in or make an appointment by calling 541-774-8209.

Hours are 8 a.m. to noon and 1-5 p.m. weekdays except federal holidays.

The last check-in times for vaccinations are 11:45 a.m. before the lunch break at noon, and 4:45 p.m. at the end of the day.

For information on other vaccination sites in Jackson County, see jacksoncountyor.org/hhs/COVID-19/Vaccine-Appointments/where-to-get-vaccinated-in-jackson-county.

Flu cases are rising in the United States and people should consider getting a flu shot, the CDC recommends.

Flu season is usually in the fall and winter, so the spring increase in flu cases is unusual. It’s unclear how long the increase will continue, Jackson County Public Health said.

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