Jackson Co. enters ‘rapid community spread’ phase of coronavirus

JACKSON, COUNTY, Ore. — With the amount of coronavirus cases rising across the county, Jackson County is no different.

“We know that it’s spreading the way pandemics spread, which is the way pandemics spread, which is exponentially,” Dr. Jim Shames, Jackson County Public Health Officer, said.

Dr. Shames says the county has entered a phase of rapid community spread with coronavirus.

“It starts off really slow and at some point it reaches kind of what’s called the inflection point where the spread gets really fast and I believe we are kind of in that space now,” Dr. Shames said.

Jackson County sent hundreds of tests to private labs and the Oregon Health Authority, but there is a lag time between when the test is taken and when the result comes back. The delay can be up to ten days.

“We are looking back in time when we look at the test results cause very few of them were done within 24 hours,” Dr. Shames said.

While the vast majority of tests have come back negative, Dr. Shames says don’t assume any location is safe.

“The disease can be transmitted before people have any symptoms. I think it’s clear that some people have such mild symptoms that they can infect others and they’re not aware that they’re sick,” Dr. Shames said.

He says coronavirus has an infectivity rate of around 2.5. This means someone who has the virus most likely transmitted the virus to 2.5 other people making social distancing even more important.

Jackson County Public Health wants to remind you the best practices to avoid spreading the virus are to practice social distancing, wash your hands often, wipe down surfaces and cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze.

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