Jackson County reports two more COVID-19 deaths

Public health officials in Jackson County reported two more deaths attributed to coronavirus, as ongoing outbreaks at local long-term care facilities continue to result in fatalities.

According to Jackson County Public Health, the patients were a 72-year-old woman who tested positive on October 26, and an 82-year-old man who tested positive on November 2. Both died November 21 at Asante Rogue Regional in Medford. While the man had underlying health conditions, the presence of other conditions is still being confirmed in the woman.

The two latest fatalities bring Jackson County’s total to 25.

As of Tuesday, outbreaks at a handful of local long-term care facilities had resulted in 15 deaths — eight at Avamere Three Fountains, two at Avamere Health Services of Rogue Valley, and five at Table Rock Memory Care.

Daily coronavirus case rates have been trending downward somewhat in Jackson County. After multiple days with upwards of 100 new cases last week, Tuesday saw 56 new cases. Regardless, the concern remains that Thanksgiving gatherings could cause cases to skyrocket again in the weeks ahead.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has recommended that people postpone holiday travel. Oregon, Washington, and California have collectively issued a travel advisory, advising against non-essential travel, particularly out of state.

“It is not ideal to have to cancel or change your holiday plans,” states Dr. Jim Shames, Jackson County Health Officer. “But it is worth it to protect our friends, family, and loved ones. When we travel, the virus travels too.”

Jackson County Public Health underlined that getting a negative test result before a Thanksgiving gathering does not preclude the need to follow safety measures — including wearing a mask before and after your meal and limiting the time spent indoors. Because it takes 2-14 days after exposure to become infectious, you can get a negative test result in the morning and become infectious that night.

“The approach to Thanksgiving will be different this year,” the agency said. “Celebrating virtually or with members of your own household . . . poses the lowest risk for spread.”

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