“It’s a consequence of reopening and loosening things up,” said Jackson Co. Public Health Officer Dr. Jim Shames. “Every week or every month that goes by we’re seeing significantly more cases than we were previously, and I think that’s happening all over the state.” One opinion is that the increase in cases is due to more asymptomatic people being tested but Dr. Shames said that doesn’t mean people aren’t getting sick and spreading it.
“We don’t want to have our head in the ground and not know what were dealing with,” Dr. Shames said. “I think it’s always a good thing to have testing that tells you the extent of the disease.” Dr. Shames said there aren’t many diseases that look like COVID-19 right now—including the flu—and the more we figure out who’s positive, the more we can protect the most vulnerable.
“The more testing you do the more you’re going to pick up asymptomatic or mildly symptomatic individuals and you know, good for them, they’re gonna do fine…their grandma might not.”
Public health said it’s doing two or three times as much testing than a couple months ago, but our positivity rate is double, if not more, than back then. “The other thing to look at is hospitalizations,” said Shames. “We have more people in the hospital than we did last week at least, more people in the hospital than we’ve ever had.”
Dr. Shames said the incident rate is what’s worrisome when it comes to spread. Up until last week, Jackson County was at 24.4 cases per 100,000 people. Now, the county is at 42.5 cases per 100,000 people. “[It’s] a little unclear whether its gonna continue or whether we’re gonna be able to flatten this particular curve again.”
Public health officials said it’s more important now than ever to mask up when out in public.
Nicole Costantino is a reporter and weather forecaster for NBC5 News. She comes to us from Phoenix, Arizona where she graduated from Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication. She also received a minor in Meteorology.
Before coming to NBC5 News Nicole was an anchor, weather forecaster and reporter at KAET in Phoenix, AZ. In college, she interned for CBS Evening News in New York City and the NBC4 Investigative Team in Los Angeles.
In her free time, you can find Nicole cheering on her Sun Devils and exploring the Pacific Northwest. Feel free to send story ideas and chocolate chip cookie recipes to her on Facebook (@NicoleCostantino) or Twitter (@NicCostantino).