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COVID Cases Are On The Decline In Jackson County And Hospital Bed Availability Rising

Photo by Amir Arabshahi on Unsplash

While hospital bed availability usually lags a week behind general COVID case decline, in the county, the two are happening at the same time.

Jim Shames, the Jackson County Medical Director, reports that hospitals are slowly beginning to resume their normal activities.

“I do know they are starting to be able to take that backlog of elective surgeries and get them done,” says Shames. “However, it’s still very difficult because we have all this additional burden from unvaccinated COVID patients.”

One factor affecting hospitalization rates is the monoclonal antibody treatment program. This is a treatment that is being offered by the Asante Hospital System. It has been effective in keeping those at high risk of severe COVID out of the hospital after being infected.

But it’s not all good news. Shames says that some hospital beds are opening up because many of the patients are dying.

“I think that the patients dying, unfortunately, is a reflection of just how many people we’ve had on ventilators,” says Shames. “When you see 25 people on ventilators, you can be sure that the majority of them, unfortunately, the vast majority of them, are not going to make it.”

The Asante health system, which includes three hospitals in Jackson and Josephine County, is also still dealing with an internal COVID outbreak. Over 100 people are infected and the Oregon Health Authority has stepped in to assist.

Sophia Prince is a reporter and producer for JPR News. She began as JPR’s 2021 summer intern through the Charles Snowden Program for Excellence in Journalism. She graduated from the University of Oregon with a BA in journalism and international studies.