Douglas County reported the death of five of its residents since Tuesday, raising the county’s death toll to 110 since the start of the pandemic.
The Douglas County COVID-19 Recovery team reported the death of a fully vaccinated 84-year-old man Tuesday, while a 50-year-old man and 73-year-old woman who died Wednesday had not been vaccinated.
Thursday, an 87-year-old woman (unvaccinated) and an 88-year-old man (fully vaccinated) also died.
The recovery team reported 245 new positive and presumptive COVID-19 cases on Thursday, with 66 county residents hospitalized, including 58 locally. There were 141 new cases reported Friday, which pushed Douglas County’s total number of cases to 7,019 since the start of the pandemic in March 2020.
As of Friday, 61 county residents were hospitalized, 52 locally and nine out of the area. Of the 61 hospitalized, 55 reportedly had not been vaccinated. Thirteen were in the intensive care unit, while 16 had been placed on ventilators.
In addition to 75 Oregon National Guard troops arriving in Roseburg to help overwhelmed medical staff in the area, the Douglas County Board of Commissioners is also deploying nearly two dozen county employees to help ease the burden of local health care professionals.
“It is critical that we do our part as county government to make sure that our local hospitals are able to still provide vital medical services to our community,” Douglas County Commissioner Tim Freeman said. “There is no mission that we perform, other than public safety, that is as important at this time than supporting our hospitals and public health.”
Employees from numerous county departments including building, juvenile, assessors, parks, public works, fairgrounds, clerks and veterans have been temporarily called upon to assist both CHI Mercy Medical Center and the Douglas Public Health Network.
“We have juvenile counselors, legal assistants, property appraisers, veterans counselors — to name a few — that are no assisting with screening patients, helping to support medical supplies or answering calls about where people can get vaccinated,” said Michael Kurtz, human resources director for the county. “All of these employees could have said, ‘No thank you, this isn’t in my job description,’ but instead they all said, ‘Tell me how I can help.’ This is a workforce that understands there is a community need and they are glad to be able to do their part.”
The recovery team also reported Friday that 883 more county residents received at least a partial dose of the COVID-19 vaccine sequence between Aug. 8-14, which helped push the county’s estimated vaccination rate to 58.4%
BREAKTHROUGH CASESThe Oregon Health Authority released its latest COVID-19 Breakthrough Report Thursday, detailing the number of individuals who have tested positive for the coronavirus at least 14 days after completing their vaccine sequence.
Between Aug. 1-14, the state reported 20,701 total positive cases, 2,982 (14.4%) of which were considered breakthrough cases. The median age of breakthrough cases was 46, and 95 breakthrough cases were reported in care facilities, senior living communities or other congregate living settings. There were 644 (22.3%) breakthrough cases among those 65 and older, and 52 (1.7%) among those ages 12-17.
Douglas County has seen 219 breakthrough cases through April 14. By comparison, Lane County had 948, Jackson County had 423 and Josephine County had 228.
So far, the state has completed testing on 5.1% of positive breakthrough specimens, with the most common COVID-19 strain being the so-called “delta” variant with 170.
The original “alpha” strain had been detected in 134 breakthrough cases.
Of the 58 total deaths of Oregon residents who have been fully vaccinated, only one was under the age of 50.