The United States is entering into the fourth wave of the COVID-19 pandemic due to the newest COVID-19 variant, Omicron. Viruses are constantly changing, including the virus that causes COVID-19. Viruses constantly change through mutation, and sometimes these mutations result in a new variant of the virus. New variants of the virus are expected to occur. Taking steps to reduce the spread of infection, including getting a COVID-19 vaccine, are the best way to slow the emergence of new variants.
We Have the Tools to Fight Omicron
Vaccines remain the best public health measure to protect people from COVID-19, slow transmission, and reduce the likelihood of new variants emerging. Vaccines are highly effective at reducing the risk of severe illness, hospitalization, and death from COVID-19.
It is recommended that everyone 5 years and older be fully vaccinated against COVID-19. COVID-19 booster doses are recommended for adults ages 18 and older. Teens 16–17 years old who received Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccines can get a booster dose at least 6 months after their initial Pfizer-BioNTech vaccination series.
“Booster doses are providing people additional protection against COVID-19 to reduce the risk of severe illness. We are encouraging all eligible populations to get their booster dose,” states Dr. Jim Shames, Health Officer for Jackson County Public Health. “A serious concern is the number of people who still have not been vaccinated against COVID-19. We need to have more people fully vaccinated if we want to see life return to normal, have fewer people getting COVID-19 and severe COVID-19, and reduce the stress on our hospital systems. Ultimately, people are choosing to either get COVID-19 or get vaccinated, and getting vaccinated will always be the safer option.”
As of December 20, 2021, 22,853 people, 18 and older, still need to receive their first dose to meet the 80% vaccination goal in Jackson County. “
Wearing a mask in public indoor settings continues to be a necessary action to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. Masks do not provide the wearer 100% protection, but wearing a mask, getting vaccinated, staying home when you are sick, washing your hands, and getting tested, will increase your protection and decrease the spread of COVID-19 in the community. “It will take all the tools we have to fight COVID-19. There isn’t one tool that is 100% effective, which is why we encourage people to take multiple actions to protect themselves and their loved ones. But, getting vaccinated continues to be the best tool we have,” states Tanya Phillips, Health Promotion and Preparedness Manager for Jackson County Public Health.
Daily Number of New COVID-19 Cases
As of 12:01 a.m. on December 21, 2021, Jackson County Public Health is reporting 47 new cases of COVID-19, bringing the total cases in Jackson County to 25,869.
COVID-19 Hospitalizations for Region 5 (Jackson and Josephine Counties)
As of 10:00 a.m. on December 21, 2021, the number of hospitalized patients with COVID-19 is 47, and there are 16 patients with COVID-19 in the intensive care unit.
The total number of patients in hospital beds may fluctuate between report times. The numbers do not reflect admissions per day nor the length of hospital stay. Staffing limitations are not captured in this data and may further limit bed capacity.
COVID-19 Related Deaths
Jackson County Public Health reports 3 new COVID-19 deaths, bringing the total to 381 since the beginning of the pandemic.
Jackson County’s 379th COVID-19 death is a 66-year-old man who tested positive on November 23 and died on December 20 at Rogue Regional Medical Center. They had underlying health conditions.
Jackson County’s 380th COVID-19 death is an 81-year-old woman who tested positive on December 11 and died on December 18 at Providence Medford Medical Center. Underlying health conditions are unknown.
Jackson County’s 381st COVID-19 death is an 81-year-old man who tested positive on December 17 and died on December 20 at Providence Medford Medical Center. They had underlying health conditions.
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