MEDFORD, Ore. — “People are being really honest, they’re being very open with us. They’re giving us the information that we need for contact tracing to be successful,” said Jessica Dale, Klamath County Health.
A small, tight knit community may be the reason Klamath County is seeing a rise in coronavirus cases hitting 94 cases on Monday.
Dale says contact tracing is key and it’s easier to do when people trust you.
“We know more of the people that we’re in contact with, so if I go to the grocery store I’m likely to know a large majority of people in the store at the same time as me,” said Dale.
Last week, Klamath County announced several teens got the disease. However, both counties are seeing cases across virtually all age groups.
“I think 19 percent of our cases were between 20 and 30 and another 19 percent between 30 and 40 and those are the folks that are going out and having contact with others,” said Dr. Jim Shames, Jackson Co. health officer.
Younger people infected with the virus, is a trend Dr. Shames says he’s seeing locally. But Jackson County’s numbers are still lower than Klamath County with 91 cases.
He agrees contact tracing is important when it comes to tracking numbers, but says luck is important too.
“We have other counties that are similar size to Klamath County, probably philosophically similar with very few cases. And I think it could change tomorrow. It’s just a matter of the right person ending up in the wrong situation,” said Dr. Shames.
Both health departments agree cases will only increase from this point on.
Still, they’re thankful the majority of their cases are not ‘sporadic’ and can be traced back to a confirmed case.
“The implication is that the disease is flying under the radar and you’re not tracking how it’s going from person to person. As opposed to, you know, we got this. I see where this came from, that’s the position of power you want to be in from a public health perspective,” said Dr. Shames.
Both counties say numbers will continue to rise, so it’s our job to practice social distancing, wash our hands frequently, and wear facial coverings.
Amanda Rose is a multimedia journalist for NBC5 News. Amanda graduated from Columbia University earning a Master’s degree in Journalism. She also received a Bachelor’s degree in English with a specialization in literature from the University of British Columbia.
She’s a Los Angeles native, but is thrilled to return to the beautiful Pacific Northwest and is passionate about reporting on the criminal justice system.