COVID-19 update: Jefferson County case count still climbing
While the number of new COVID cases statewide seem to be plateauing or trailing off, the case numbers in Jefferson County continue to rise.
The first week of October, Jefferson County Public Health tallied 120 cases, 125 cases the second week, and 145 cases this past week.
"Looking at the numbers, we're the worst we've ever been," says County Public Health Director Michael Baker. "But we're acting like everything's over." Of the people testing for COVID last week in Jefferson County 16.5% tested positive. The positivity rate state wide is 6.8%.
The number of new vaccinations remains flat, but Baker has seen a huge increase in booster shots and third doses. Vaccinations for children ages 5 to 11 will be available as early as Nov. 8. "Based on the overall community," says Baker, "I don't think we'll have a huge demand for school age vaccine at least right away."
In partnership with St. Charles Madras, the health department personnel have been providing monoclonal antibody treatments for COVID patients since Oct. 11. Given to people who already have COVID, the monoclonal antibodies boost a person's immune system to specifically attack the COVID virus.
As of Oct. 25, 16 patients have received the treatment at St. Charles Madras. Public Health is still collecting follow up information on those patients. Feedback so far indicates most people feel the treatment helped.
"Everyone that's come in has been very vocal in their appreciation that we're offering this in Madras," says Baker.
The Oregon Health Authority says because of a computer error, approximately 550 COVID deaths did not get reported. Most of the deaths occurred between May 2021 and August 2021.
Baker says one of the deaths recently reported for Jefferson County is among those missed in the tally error. He doesn't expect to see a significant bump in deaths attributed to Jefferson County associated with reconciling these numbers.
OHA has been working to automate the process but that has led to periodic backlogs. The agency says it will review the deaths during the data reconciliation process over the next month. As a result, daily reported COVID-19-related deaths will be higher than usual until the backlog is resolved.
The additional deaths will affect Oregon's national standing in COVID-19 death rates. Presently, Oregon has the sixth lowest death rate in the nation. The newly reported deaths are expected to push Oregon's death rate past one or two other states. However, Oregon's death rate will remain well below the national average and the fatality rates of most other states.
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