As of March 12, 2022, state indoor masking mandates for schools and the general public are no longer in effect. The indoor masking requirements are not currently needed in Josephine County because COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths are at their lowest rate since the Delta wave started last summer and because vaccine and natural immunity are at their highest. Masks are still required in health care settings, pharmacies and public transportation.
When the community has medium or high levels of transmission per the CDC COVID-19 Community Levels
, JCPH recommends that people at high risk of severe disease or who live with someone at high risk continue to wear masks in indoor settings.
The full list of recognized high risk factors can be found on the CDC website
. Those at high risk include those:
- Who are unvaccinated
- With compromised immune systems
- With underlying health conditions such as obesity, diabetes, heart disease, kidney disease and lung disease
- Are 65 and older
- Who live with others at high risk of severe disease
Any governmental entity, business, workplace or school district may choose to require masks. Individuals who wish to continue to wear masks to protect against COVID-19 are free to do so.
Josephine County Public Health posts weekly COVID-19 numbers here and on its Facebook page
For more detailed numbers and information related to COVID-19, visit the Oregon Health Authority
What is COVID-19?
Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses, some causing illness in people and others circulating among animals. Rarely, animal coronaviruses can infect people and then spread between people.
In December 2019, an outbreak of a new respiratory infection was reported in China. The virus has since been named “SARSCoV-2,” and the disease it causes is named COVID-19.
The virus appears to spread mainly from person-to-person. It is most commonly spread by aerosols and droplets from an infected person. The virus clings to the aerosols and droplets and spreads via breathing, coughing, sneezing, etc. People are most contagious while symptomatic and in the two days prior to developing symptoms. This is why it is so important to wear a mask and wash hands frequently even when feeling well.
The illness related to COVID-19 has ranged from mild symptoms to severe illness, and in some cases death. Symptoms commonly appear 2 to 14 days after being infected with the virus. Common symptoms
- Difficulty breathing
- Muscle or body aches
- Loss of smell or taste
- Sore throat
- Congestion or runny nose
- Nausea or vomiting
Certain risk factors place people at higher risk for more severe disease, which can result in hospitalization, intensive care, a ventilator to help them breathe or death. For a full list of risk factors, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Risk factors include:
- Age (over 65)
- Chronic health conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes, lung disease (such as asthma or COPD), heart disease, severe kidney disease, cancer, autoimmune disease, immunosuppression or obesity
- Being overweight or obese (a BMI of 25 or higher)
- Having a disability, such as Down syndrome
- Living in a congregate setting, such as a nursing home or jail
- Being of a minority group
The best way to prevent illness is to avoid contracting the virus. However, everyday actions can help prevent the spread of respiratory viruses. These actions include:
- Get vaccinated. This is the strongest tool available.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Stay home when feeling unwell and get tested.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, and then dispose of the tissue in the trash can.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
- Stay 6 feet away from people not a part of your household.
- Wear a mask if you cannot maintain 6 feet of distance from someone outside of your household. Wear a mask at home if someone has COVID-19 infection or has been exposed to COVID-19. There are a few exceptions to wearing a mask.
Never put a mask or face covering on an infant or an adult who cannot adjust or remove the mask themselves. Do not tie a mask around a small child’s head or neck because it can become a strangling hazard.
People who think they might have been exposed to COVID-19 should call
their local healthcare provider or local hospital immediately. Notify them that you may have COVID-19 and, if possible, wear a mask before interacting with the providers.
Misinformation and disinformation
is false information shared without an intent to harm others. Disinformation
is false information shared with an intent to harm others. Both have been very common during the COVID-19 pandemic.
To learn how to address this false information, visit see How to Address COVID-19 Vaccine Misinformation
For help determining whether a common piece of information being shared is accurate, visit the Public Health Communications Collaborative's Misinformation Alerts page