Covid-19 cases on the rise in younger age groups, health officials say

MEDFORD, Ore. — “My fear is, but I’m hoping not, that we will see more hospitalizations over time,” said Dr. Jim Shames, health officer for Jackson Co.

Coronavirus cases are on the rise across Oregon, but hospitals aren’t overwhelmed.

Dr. Shames says younger people infected with the virus, may be a factor.

“Probably younger people who are at work, working together with others,” said Dr. Shames. “That’s a trend I guess we expected when we opened up and also a trend you’d expect if we had much more testing capability.”

Out of Jackson County’s 98 cases, which includes both active and recovered cases, Dr. Shames says roughly 19 percent are people between the ages of 20 and 30 and another 19 percent are between 30 and 40.

Klamath County is seeing a similar trend in young people.

“We’re definitely seeing an increase in numbers that closely relates to what we think is an increase in the comfort level of resuming social activities,” said Jessica Dale, Klamath County Health.

Dale says the county didn’t have any cases in the 19-and-under age group before Monday of last week.

Since then, there’s been 18 new cases.

There’s been 6 more in people in their 20’s, 12 in people in their 30’s, and 9 in people in their 40’s.

“The majority have no to mild symptoms, which is both good and bad,” said Dale. “We’re glad that people have mild symptoms but it also remains really important even if you have mild symptoms to stay at home.”

As for the lack of hospitalizations, Dr. Shames fears that will change.

“Even though the percentages are smaller you’re going to see some of those young people hospitalized. In addition, they’re bringing it home. They’re bringing it home to their parents, their grandparents, and those people are more likely to be hospitalized,” said Dr. Shames.

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