Jackson County Public Health reports 69 new COVID-19 cases as of 12:01 am on October 30, 2020. This update brings the total reported COVID-19 cases in Jackson County to 1,865. 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 is the largest single-day increase in cases Jackson County has reported since the beginning of the pandemic. COVID-19 testing volume in Jackson is overall holding steady between 2,000 to 2,140 over the past three weeks, while the test positivity rate has steadily increased. “The increase in the test positivity rate tells us that we truly have a rise in cases and that it is not due to the volume of tests performed in Jackson County,” Says Dr. Jim Shames, Jackson County Health Officer.
“To see these large numbers of new COVID-19 infections in the last couple of days is incredibly alarming, states Dr. Jim Shames. “We believe that the rise in cases is because people are engaging in social gatherings and household gatherings. In these situations, people are most likely not staying home if they are feeling under the weather, are not wearing a mask or staying 6 feet or more away from other people, and are not keeping the indoor gathering size to 10 or fewer people.”
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