MEDFORD, Ore. — “Once Covid gets into a facility like that it spreads very quickly,” said Dr. Jim Shames, Jackson Co. health officer.
Covid-19 outbreaks are hammering southern Oregon long-term care facilities.
The latest Oregon Health Authority’s weekly report shows some startling statistics.
Jackson County’s ‘Avamere Three Fountains’ and ‘Table Rock Memory Care’ each had 13 deaths and more than 100 total cases.
30 of Jackson County’s 54 Covid-19 deaths are tied to the list of active outbreaks.
In Josephine County, the outbreak at ‘Cascade Senior Living – The Village’ started just last Thursday.
‘Oak Lane Retirement’ tells NBC5 News in the last 48-hours, it’s had 5 patients die as a result of Covid-19.
“It’s very hard for people to fully totally isolate because they’re dependent on others for their care,” said Dr. Shames.
Dr. Shames says the active outbreaks are especially problematic and could lead to more fatalities.
He says the virus is often brought in by healthcare workers who may not even know they have the virus.
“Sometimes there’s a delay in testing, sometimes someone is incubating Covid and they don’t have enough of it in their nose and throat to trigger a positive test,” he said.
Dr. Shames says long-term care facilities do have extensive safety precautions, such as frequent testing for staff and isolating people who are infected.
But he says in an outbreak like this staff also get ill, straining the facility’s resources.
He’s thankful help is on the way with a Covid-19 vaccine being administered to both staff and residents in long-term care facilities over the next few weeks.
“These are very vulnerable individuals and if we can protect them with a vaccine, we’re going to do all we can to do that,” said Dr. Shames.
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.