Jackson County reports 424 cases of COVID-19 – Medford News, Weather, Sports, Breaking News

OHSU: Public response helps hospitals

Jackson County reported 424 new COVID-19 cases Thursday and two more COVID-19-related deaths.

A 66-year-old woman died at Asante Rogue Regional Medical Center and a 99-year-old woman died at Providence Medford Medical Center. The Oregon Health Authority said the 99-year-old had underlying health conditions, but was still checking Friday to see if the 66-year-old also had any health conditions.

Statewide, Oregon on Friday reported 8,672 new cases of COVID-19 and 13 COVID-19-related deaths, including those in Jackson County. Those who died were between 44 and 99 years old, the OHA said.

Oregon Health & Science University released a new COVID-19 hospitalization forecast that is almost unchanged from last week. OHSU predicts hospitalizations for COVID-19 will peak statewide at 1,650 people on Jan. 28.

That number would strain Oregon hospitals, OHSU said.

But the data shows the situation would be much worse if Oregonians did not take measures such as wearing masks and limiting gatherings, OHSU said.

Without public help, the forecast would be 2,130 people hospitalized with COVID-19 by January 28. It would be an overwhelming influx of patients and nearly 1,000 more than the peak of the summer and fall surge that has strained hospitals, OHSU said.

As of Friday, hospitals in Oregon were caring for 811 people with the virus, according to hospitalization data.

The number of people with COVID-19 in Portland-area hospitals continues its three-week peak with no signs of slowing. The number reached 461 patients on Friday — more than the Portland-area’s peak of 456 during the summer and fall surge of 2021.

Portland-area hospitals were 98% full Friday.

As of Friday, hospitals in Jackson and Josephine counties were caring for 88 patients with COVID-19. The numbers are gradually rising but are still well below the previous peak of 223 COVID-19 patients that crushed hospitals in Rogue Valley.

Rogue Valley was the hardest hit area in the state during the latest surge.

As of Friday, local hospitals were 93% full.

OHSU said not everyone in Oregon hospitals who tests positive for the virus is in the hospital because of COVID-19. They can be there mainly because of heart attacks, cancers, car accidents and other conditions, but it can also happen that they carry the virus.

The rapid spread of the highly contagious omicron variant of the virus means the proportion of COVID-19 positive patients in hospitals will continue to rise, OHSU said.

Although not there primarily because of the virus, the cases are adding to the burden on hospitals as COVID-19 patients need to be isolated and other safety measures taken. A COVID-19 infection can also aggravate other conditions and complicate a patient’s care, OHSU said.

The incidental cases are somewhat offset by COVID-19 patients who are no longer counted in state figures because they have been in the hospital long enough to no longer be infectious. But they are still occupying hospital beds, OHSU said.

Omicron appears to cause a lower overall rate of severe disease than the previously dominant delta variant. But its rapid spread, combined with its ability to evade prior immunity to vaccination or infection, is driving an unprecedented rise in daily infections in Oregon, OHSU said.

People who have been vaccinated and then given a booster shot are the most protected against the omicron variant and other known variants, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Unvaccinated people are the minority in Jackson and Josephine counties, but they accounted for 79% of COVID-19 patients at Asante’s three Rogue Valley hospitals on Friday and 94% of COVID-19 patients in care unit beds intensive. There was one vaccinated COVID-19 patient on a ventilator, Asante reported.

Over the past 90 days, unvaccinated people accounted for 88% of COVID-19 patients who died at an Asante hospital, the health network said.

Contact Mail Tribune reporter Vickie Aldous at 541-776-4486 or [email protected] Follow her on Twitter @VickieAldous.