Jackson Co. reports 442 new COVID-19 cases as Omicron takes hold

JACKSON COUNTY, Ore. —With Covid cases nearly doubling overnight, Jackson County Public Health says we’re now seeing the impact of the highly contagious Omicron variant. Jackson County continues to see a big jump in the number of Covid-19 cases recorded.

Public health says the culprit, is the highly contagious Omicron variant, which largely, has more mild symptoms of the disease.

“We are anticipating to see the numbers climb over the coming days and weeks,” said Dr. Leona O’Keefe,  Jackson County Public Health Officer.

Rising COVID-19 case numbers continue to pose a threat for many southern Oregonians. Jackson County reported 442 new cases Thursday. The day prior, that number was 264 cases.

“Given how rapidly these numbers are going up, we can be pretty sure this is omicron present in our community causing this rapid rate of spread,” said O’Keefe.

With the disease becoming more prevalent in our community, we’re seeing longer lines to get tested. Dr. O’Keefe, says there’s a limited number of tests and limited staff to do the tests. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean a longer wait time for results, according to O’Keefe. But she says some help is on the way.

“The state is receiving 6 million kits, each kit has two tests so that’s 12 million tests, the state is working through how they will distribute those tests,” said O’Keefe.

Despite this, hospitals are still feeling the burden. At Providence Medford Medical Center, the administration is monitoring elective surgeries day to day.

So far it’s had to postpone some, but if we continue on this trend I’m told cancellations could come next. Providence says if a surgery does require an inpatient stay, there’s a higher likelihood of it happening. All emergency surgeries are still happening.

On the other side of town, we’re told all three Asante hospitals continue to be at or near capacity. A spokeswoman says Asante reviews all elective surgeries and procedures on an hourly basis, to determine which ones can be done according to bed availability. We asked if the health system is rescheduling or canceling any so far, we didn’t get an answer.

If you feel sick, public health recommends getting tested for peace of mind. It also says each testing facility has a different turnaround time for results. Asante says its turnaround time for tests is between 10 and 36 hours, depending on the number of tests to be run.

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NBC5 News Reporter Jenna King is a Burbank native. She graduated from the University of Oregon with a degree in Broadcast Journalism and a minor in Sports Business. During her time at the U of O, she was part of the student-run television station, Duck TV. She also grew her passion for sports through interning with the PAC 12 Network. When Jenna is not in the newsroom you can find her rooting for her hometown Dodgers, exploring the outdoors, or binging on the latest Netflix release.
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