PORTLAND, Ore. — The Oregon Health Authority reported 82 more deaths attributed to COVID-19 on Tuesday, marking the highest single-day count since the pandemic began — albeit with a major asterisk that a "death data reconciliation" process contributed to the number.
This is the second such record-breaking report in as many weeks. OHA's report last Thursday, October 7, noted 59 deaths. This was the single-day record at the time, but death data reconciliation again contributed to that high number.
"Death is a lagging indicator and generally follows a surge in cases," OHA said. "In addition, there is often a lag in reporting as our epidemiologists review death certificates."
These are essentially deaths believed to have been caused COVID-19 that slipped through the cracks at the time that they occurred, meaning that they were not previously reported to the state.
On the October 7 OHA report were deaths that occurred in May, June, and July of this year, in addition to the more recent October and September deaths. One woman listed on the report died on January 30. Only fifteen of the patients listed had died within the past two months.
Tuesday's report with the staggering 82 deaths did not include characteristics such as age, date, or location, which OHA has taken to providing in an update the following day.
The OHA report on Monday included 20 deaths. While a considerably smaller number than Tuesday's report with the contribution from data reconciliation, it pushed Oregon over the edge of 4,000 deaths attributed to COVID-19 since the pandemic began. Tuesday's additions brought that total to 4,084.
"OHA expects that reported deaths may continue to be high even as daily case counts decrease. This is due to the time lag between when a person tests positive for a case of COVID-19 and when they die with COVID-19," OHA continued. "The best way to reduce COVID-19 related deaths is by getting vaccinated. Safe, free and highly effective vaccines are widely available throughout Oregon."
Officials reported 1,413 new COVID-19 cases on Tuesday. Hospitalizations for COVID-19 patients continue to drop, with OHA noting a total of 585 patients in the hospital on Tuesday. Of those patients, 149 were in intensive care unit beds.