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Health and Medicine

COVID spike in southwest Oregon prompts indoor mask recommendations

OHSU staff members grab a quick hug in the hallway of the ICU. They say that camaraderie and a sense of public service is what keeps them going.
Kristyna Wentz-Graff
/
OPB
OHSU staff members grab a quick hug in the hallway of the ICU. They say that camaraderie and a sense of public service is what keeps them going.

COVID numbers are rising again and a spike in southwest Oregon is prompting mask recommendations in indoor public spaces.

The Oregon Health Authority reported an average of 1,500 new COVID-19 cases per day statewide over the last week.

The rise in cases has put Lane, Douglas and Jackson counties back into the CDC-designated “high” category for transmission. Jackson County Medical Director Dr. Leona O’Keefe says they took into account both the number of cases and hospitalizations to determine risk.

“What that implies for us as individuals is really a consideration for wearing a mask indoors when in public spaces," O'Keefe says.

O’Keefe says the spread of COVID is likely higher than data from the health authority suggests because they don’t take into account results from home tests which are not reported to the state.

“Our hospitals still are typically operating beyond capacity, which means they’re using bed spaces for care that they don’t typically use," O'Keefe says. "So that is still a factor at play.”

In OHA's regions 3 and 5, which include Lane, Douglas and Jackson counties among others, 72 people were hospitalized with COVID-19 as of Monday. Out of 148 beds in hospital ICUs, just 13 were open.

COVID vaccinations for the final eligible age group – children under 5 – are expected to be approved by the FDA this week.

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OHA
COVID-19 cases Jackson County
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OHA
COVID-19 cases Douglas County
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OHA
COVID-19 cases Lane County.