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COVID-19 on a slow decline, but Lane County not out of the woods yet, doctors say

Health officials said COVID-19 isn't the only respiratory disease on their mind.

Posted: Sep 15, 2021 6:50 PM

LANE COUNTY, Ore. -- COVID-19 cases are on a downward trend in Lane County, but we're not out of the woods yet, Lane County Public Health said during their weekly update on Wednesday.

Health officials said there are 104 COVID-19 patients in hospitals across the county, and 62 of those are Lane County residents. Officials said this is down by 15 from last week. 

RELATED: Doctors urging vaccination as breakthrough hospitalizations rise

When downward trends like this hit, people tend to relax with social distancing and masking, health officials said. And when people are more relaxed, cases start to rise again, officials said.

Lane County Public Health spokesperson Jason Davis said people shouldn't let their guard down when it comes to good hygiene, wearing a mask, and adhering to local and state guidelines. 

Eugene resident Jennifer Carrell said she doesn't know what to think about these fluctuations. 

"I'm just sort of a little bit numb to it because I know that it's constantly changing, so if I try to get too like invested or follow it too closely, it's just going to be different the next day," said Carrell. 

She went on to say she is cautiously optimistic, like most residents. 

Ailla Conrad told KEZI 9 News she isn't surprised by the constant changes in case numbers. 

"A lot of people are thinking since like the vaccinations are happening and stuff that they don't really have to wear their masks anymore, so it might be actually not good that people think that," said Conrad. 

But health officials said COVID-19 isn't the only respiratory disease on their mind. Health officials said roughly 36% of people 18 to 49 years old in Lane County were vaccinated against influenza in 2020.

Dr. Patrick Luedtke with Lane County Public Health said each year for the flu is completely different. He said he doesn't know what things will look like this year, but he said flu cases likely won't be as scarce as they were last year. 

"We really don't know if this is going to be a bad flu year or a good flu year. Last year there was very little flu; coronavirus really crowded out all the other viruses out there. Will that happen this year? Probably not," said Luedtke. 

MORE: Doctors say it's essential to boost your immune system before it's too late

Even so, Eugene resident Rebekah Albert said she's still hesitant about getting the flu vaccine. 

"There's more questions than ever before about the flu vaccine, but yeah I probably won't have a lot of contact with people again this winter," said Albert. 

And doctors like Luedtke said now is the best time to protect yourself against diseases like the flu, especially with all of the uncertainty this year. 

"I wish I could say for sure that it will be a mild or moderate or severe, but I can't. What I can say is get yourself protected now," said Luedtke.

Luedtke also said anyone six months or older is eligible to get the flu vaccine. 

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