Jackson County Public Health reports 54 new COVID-19 cases as of 12:01 am on October 29, 2020. This update brings the total reported COVID-19 cases in Jackson County to 1,796. To access additional data on the total COVID-19 cases, visit the Situation in Jackson County, Oregon webpage, or the Oregon Health Authority’s COVID-19 Data Dashboard website.
Today marks the highest reported number of daily COVID-19 cases since the beginning of the pandemic in Jackson County. For week 43 (October 18 –October 24), Jackson County reported 177 new COVID-19 cases (80 cases per 100,000 population). This is a 31% increase in cases from week 42 and the highest number of new cases reported in a week. Jackson County had a test positivity rate of 8.1%, a 24.6% increase from the previous week.
Jackson County continues to see spread occur from indoor social gatherings and within a household or multiple households. The colder weather and holidays bring people indoors, which increases the risk of COVID-19 spreading. If you are holding a family/friend gathering, consider implementing the following steps to minimize the risk of spreading COVID-19:
- Gatherings are for well people: people who are sick, have COVID-19, are a close contact to a confirmed case, have a pending COVID-19 test should not attend the gathering
- Increase indoor ventilation: ensuring proper ventilation can reduce airborne contaminants, including viruses, indoors. Open window, use HVAC system, consider upgrading filters, turn bathroom fans on and run them continuously, or use a portable air cleaner or purifier. Indoor gathers with poor ventilation pose more risk than those with good ventilation. For more information, visit the EPA Indoor Air in Homes and Coronavirus.
- Wear a mask- despite being with family and friends, wearing a mask continues to be an effective way of reducing the spread of COVID-19.
- Limit the number of guests- it is best to limit the number of people indoors; the Governor of Oregon has an indoor gathering limit of 10 or fewer people with physical distancing.
- Practice physical distancing- space out chairs at the table and consider not staying with family and friends in their home.
Many traditional Halloween activities can be high-risk for spreading viruses. There are several safer, alternative ways to participate in Halloween. If you may have COVID-19 or you may have been exposed to someone with COVID-19, you should not participate in in-person Halloween festivities and should not give out candy to trick-or-treaters.
It is best to engage in lower-risk activities and limit or avoid activities that carry a higher risk of spreading and contracting COVID-19. During the fall celebrations, it remains critical that everyone wear a mask, maintain a physical distancing and limit close contact, wash your hands frequently, and get your flu vaccination.
Low-risk activities include:
- Carving or decorating pumpkins with members of your household and displaying them
- Carving or decorating pumpkins outside, at a safe distance, with neighbors or friends
- Having a virtual Halloween costume contest
- Having a Halloween movie night with people you live with
- Doing a Halloween scavenger hunt where children are given lists of Halloween-themed things to look for while they walk outdoors from house to house, admiring Halloween decorations at a distance
- Having a scavenger hunt-style trick-or-treat search with your household members in or around your home rather than going house to house
Moderate risk activities:
- Participating in one-way trick-or-treating where individually wrapped goodie bags are lined up for families to gran and go while continuing to social distance
- Having a small group, outdoor, open-air costume parade where people are distanced more than 6ft apart
- Attending a costume party held outdoors where protective masks are used, and people remain more than 6 ft apart (costume mask is not a substitute for a cloth mask.
- Going to an open-air, one-way, walk-through haunted forest where appropriate mask use in enforced, and people can remain more than 6 ft apart
- Visiting pumpkin patches or orchards where people use hand sanitizer before touching pumpkins r picking applies, wearing masks is encouraged or enforced, and people are able to maintain physical distancing
- Having an outdoor Halloween movie night with family and friends that are local and can maintain physical distancing
High-risk activities include:
- Participating in traditional trick-or-treating where treats are handed to children who go door to door
- Having trunk-or-treat where treats are handed out from trunks of cars lined up in large parking lots
- Attending crowded costume parties held indoors
- Traveling to a rural fall festival that is not in your community if you live in an area with community spread of COVID-19
- Going to an indoor haunted house where people may be crowded together and screaming
- Going to hayrides or tractor rides with people who are not in your household
- Using alcohol and trust, which can cloud judgment and increase risky behaviors
For more information on how to celebrate Halloween safely, visit the CDC COVID-19 Holiday Celebrations webpage.
For more information on COVID-19:
The public can call 211-information with general questions
OHA Emerging Respiratory Disease page: www.healthoregon.org/coronavirus
CDC COVID-19 page: www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html
CDC Travel within the US: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/travel-in-the-us.html
Jackson County Health and Human Services: http://jacksoncountyor.org/hhs/COVID-19
Oregon COVID-19 Testing Location Finder: https://govstatus.egov.com/or-oha-covid-19-testing