MEDFORD, Ore. — Jackson County Public Health sent out another call for the public to seek vaccinations against COVID-19 as the area sees a sharp uptick in both cases and hospitalizations. The county on Friday saw the highest number of new cases reported on a single day since the pandemic began.
“Today, Jackson County set a new record for the number of new cases in one day. The number of COVID-19 positive patients being hospitalized and in the ICU are also at record numbers in the region,” said Dr. Jim Shames, Health Officer for Jackson County. “Until more people make the decision to get vaccinated and take action, we will continue to see this virus impact our community and push our hospital systems past its capacity."
Public health officials reported 188 new COVID-19 cases on Friday, in addition to three more deaths associated with the virus. All three were men in their 80s with underlying health conditions.
Hospitalizations have increased dramatically between Jackson and Josephine counties over the past several weeks. Officials noted that there were 68 patients hospitalized with COVID-19 as of Friday morning, 18 of those in intensive care.
Jackson County Public Health also reported two new workplace outbreaks and two outbreaks associated with senior living facilities. Outbreaks at Food 4 Less and Asante Rogue Regional Medical Center had each been linked to seven cases as of Friday, with investigations ongoing.
An outbreak at Lakeland Senior Living was linked to seven cases and one COVID-19 related death. A larger outbreak at Farmington Square in Medford had produced 35 identified cases and three COVID-related deaths.
Public health officials underlined that the best way to stop the spread of the Delta variant is to get vaccinated against COVID-19, which can help prevent severe illness, hospitalization, and death. The vaccines are still considered effective against Delta.
“We know that seatbelts save lives, but even with seatbelts, you still have to take other actions to remain safe. You do this by following the driving laws and using other tools to protect yourself, other drivers, and pedestrians. It is the same thing with the COVID-19 vaccine, getting vaccinated saves lives, but we all must continue to use the other safety measures to keep ourselves and others safe from COVID-19,” said Tanya Phillips, Health Promotion Manager for Jackson County Public Health.
Jackson County Public Health is still offering free COVID-19 vaccines at 140 S Holly Street. The Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines are available, and appointments are not required. These are available Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to noon and from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.
Earlier this week, Jackson County Public Health joined the CDC and Oregon Health Authority in recommending that eveyone wear masks in indoor public spaces regardless of vaccination status.