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Monday record likely driven by multi-day report from Deer Ridge Correctional Institution

Officially, Jefferson County broke a record Monday, Jan. 4 with 65 new coronavirus cases. According to county records, only six of those cases were from the general county population; 58 cases were rapid test results from the Deer Ridge Correctional Institution (DRCI).

However, the Oregon Department of Corrections (ODOC) says it hasn't reported any positive COVID cases at DRCI since Jan. 2.

So, which is it, 58 new cases at DRCI or none?

Reporting numbers from one institution to the other doesn't always follow a straight line.

Jefferson County doesn't get numbers from the prison on a daily basis, Jefferson County Public Health Director Michael Baker noted. One day's report could represent case counts from a few days.

Zach Erdman with the Corrections Department mentions another reporting difference. "We acknowledge the positive on the day the results come back to the prison. We might test on a Monday but get the results on a Thursday. The positive gets counted on Thursday."

Baker agrees that the discrepancy between reporting agencies means a single-day snapshot may not be the most reliable way to track how the coronavirus is moving through a community.

As of Jan. 4, the DRCI has 55 active cases among its inmates, and a cumulative number of 40 positive cases among its staff.

Jefferson County reported six new positive COVID cases in the general population, which is far better than 65 cases, and most certainly not a record.

As of Friday, Jefferson County has had 18 COVID deaths.


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