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Jackson County Leads State In Tuesday's Record-Breaking COVID Counts

A medical practitioner puts on a surgical face mask.
SJ Objio via Unsplash

Oregon reported its highest daily count of coronavirus cases Tuesday. Jackson County reported more cases than any other county — at 253.

The county with the second-most confirmed cases on Tuesday was Marion County at 164 cases — 90 cases less than Jackson County.

County public health director Jim Shames says the Delta variant is hitting hospitals hard.

“Things are feeling like they’re in a bit of a crisis point,” Shames says. “Hospitals are beginning to really look at contingency planning, we have patients who need to go back to the nursing homes who can't be readmitted because of various covid policies. There’s a lot of stress going on.”

As of Tuesday morning, there were 82 hospitalized patients with COVID-19 in Jackson County, and 26 of those patients were in the intensive care unit.

Meanwhile, the county continues to lag behind much of the state when it comes to convincing people to get the coronavirus vaccine.

Jackson County needs to vaccinate more people than any other county for it to reach an 80 percent vaccine rate,according to state data. It needs to vaccinate 44,304 more people to reach that threshold. That’s higher than the state’s most populous counties, including Marion (41,832), Clackamas (38,674), Lane (36,846), and Multnomah (33,806).

Shames says his office is expecting the state to announce additional requirements around face masks and vaccinations.

Until then, he suggests everyone wear face masks in public to prevent spreading this highly contagious variant.

The most recent research suggests that coronavirus vaccines protect people from getting seriously ill from the Delta variant, but vaccinated people can still carry and spread the variant to others.

April Ehrlich is an editor and reporter at Oregon Public Broadcasting. Previously, she was a news host and reporter at Jefferson Public Radio.