The Douglas County COVID-19 Response Team reported 13 new cases and one new death Wednesday.
The death was the county’s 39th since the pandemic’s beginning. It was of a 72-year-old man who was diagnosed with COVID-19 Nov. 20 and died Tuesday.
Douglas County’s COVID-19 case numbers remain low compared with the state and the nation overall, Douglas County Public Health Officer Bob Dannenhoffer said.
“I believe that as of yesterday, Douglas County had the lowest rate of infection for a county over 100,000 in population in the entire country!” Dannenhoffer said in a press release.
Douglas County’s population was estimated at just under 111,000 in 2019, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
There was also some good news in the Oregon Health Authority’s weekly outbreak report. There were no new cases for local nursing homes.
That’s especially good news for Curry Manor Memory Care — a facility that’s struggled to cope with 64 cases and eight deaths. No new cases or deaths were reported there this week.
It’s also good news for Forest Hill Assisted Living, formerly Forest Glen, in Canyonville. The outbreak there had previously reached 66 cases and two deaths. No new cases or deaths were reported this week.
No new cases were reported in smaller outbreaks at The Landing a Senior Living Community, or Riverview Terrace, Umpqua Valley Nursing and Rehabilitation this week either.
Among workplace outbreaks, C&D Lumber joined the list this week with five cases, the first case reported Dec. 5 and the most recent case Dec. 18.
Fred Meyer had one new case, bringing its total outbreak to nine cases.
Standing firm with no new cases were CHI Mercy Medical Center at 61 cases, Roseburg VA Medical Center at 21 cases, Sherm’s Thunderbird Market with seven cases, Ingram Book Company with six cases, and Costco with six cases.
The pandemic is taking a toll on the homeless this winter.
Tim Edmondson, director of the Roseburg Dream Center said the organization’s board voted in mid-December not to open its new facility on Diamond Lake Boulevard as a warming center because of the pandemic.
He said current state regulations would restrict the facility to 25 people including volunteers.
“My biggest dilemma is this, if I’m allowed 20 people in here and five volunteers, what do I do when number 21 comes through the door and number 30 and 40 and 50?”
He’s had more than that, as many as 137 at one time during the snowstorm two years ago.
A warming center would also risk exposure for the volunteers, most of whom are elderly, he said.
He said the number of homeless people on the streets have continued to grow. There are more people out there than he’s ever seen. They’re in tents, many out by the Duck Pond near Fred Meyer.
When it rains for days at a time like it’s expected to for the next few days everything they own becomes wet and soggy.
“If something like this happens and then it freezes, oh my gosh it’s going to be horrible,” he said.
A sign posted on the Roseburg Rescue Mission’s door Wednesday said no new guests would be admitted day or night until Jan. 4.
Roseburg Rescue Mission Executive Director Lynn Antis said the mission is not shutting down but that he had no further comment about the situation.
Samaritan Inn, a homeless shelter for women, has also closed its doors, citing concerns about an outbreak at the Eugene Mission in which 72 shelter guests and one staff member were infected.
Statewide, the Oregon Health Authority reported 1,052 new COVID-19 cases and 19 new deaths Wednesday.
So far, 138,400 Oregonians have been vaccinated for COVID-19, including 313 people in Douglas County. Currently, the vaccines are being distributed to hospital workers and residents and staff at long-term care facilities.
The Roseburg VA began vaccinating health care personnel and community living center residents last week. It’s giving the Moderna vaccine, which is what most Douglas County healthcare providers are expected to receive. It’s easier to store than the Pfizer vaccine, requiring only regular rather than ultra cold freezers.
Currently, 10 county residents are hospitalized with the illness, nine locally and one out of the area.