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Coronavirus Watch: Oregon Health Authority will add 550 deaths to state's COVID-19 death toll

State officials said that the deaths only recently came to their attention due to a 'technical computer error.' Most occurred between May and August of this year.

Posted: Oct 21, 2021 12:21 PM
Updated: Oct 21, 2021 12:32 PM

SALEM, Ore. — Oregon's death toll from COVID-19 will jump by roughly 550 in the coming weeks due to a "technical error" that kept some fatalities from the notice of state epidemiologists, according to the Oregon Health Authority.

As of Wednesday's daily OHA report, 4,235 people in Oregon had died due to COVID-19.

OHA said that most of the unreported deaths occurred between May and August of this year. The state's reporting of coronavirus-related deaths is generally done manually by reconciling death records and case records, but OHA said that it has been working to automate the process — resulting in "periodic backlogs" that account for the report on Thursday.

“We are taking steps to ensure that our reporting is comprehensive and transparent,” said OHA Director Patrick Allen. “We extend our condolences to everyone who has suffered a loss to COVID-19, and we deeply regret the pain this disclosure may cause.”

Oregon has had the sixth lowest death rate from COVID-19 in the nation, but OHA said that this dramatic increase in deaths will likely push the state down past several other states.

"However, Oregon’s death rate will remain well below the national average and the fatality rates of most other states," OHA said. "State health officials estimate that if Oregon’s death rate matched the national average, another 4,000 or more Oregonians would have died from COVID-19."

OHA attributed the state's comparatively low mortality rate to vaccinations, mask wearing, and other measures that Oregonians have adopted "to a greater extent than residents of many other states."

Fatalities have been the one metric to not see a sustained drop since the Delta variant surge peaked in late August. Death is a lagging indicator after a surge in cases, OHA said, but there also can be delays in reporting as OHA epdemiologists review death certificates.

"OHA expects that reported deaths may continue to be high even as daily case counts decrease. This is due to the time period between when a person tests positive for a case of COVID-19 and when they die with COVID-19," the agency said.

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 390066

Reported Deaths: 5142
CountyCasesDeaths
Multnomah60179836
Washington41910395
Marion39824506
Clackamas32722377
Lane30033354
Jackson24808357
Deschutes23460185
Umatilla15098180
Linn14610179
Douglas13323287
Josephine10134242
Yamhill9717142
Klamath9002145
Polk8162100
Benton608338
Malheur592086
Coos5600106
Columbia429255
Jefferson419366
Lincoln360752
Union338654
Crook332356
Wasco314946
Clatsop261235
Baker219133
Tillamook216345
Hood River211937
Morrow197125
Curry191039
Harney119532
Grant108515
Lake104216
Wallowa75413
Sherman1903
Gilliam1854
Wheeler1141
Unassigned00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 5078594

Reported Deaths: 74367
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles152627227138
San Diego4050994325
Riverside3873955358
San Bernardino3742565958
Orange3341765710
Sacramento1682422428
Kern1575251791
Fresno1566772252
Santa Clara1519051920
Alameda1251221504
San Joaquin1075271834
Ventura1039691190
Contra Costa1036861046
Stanislaus914651415
Tulare860701095
San Francisco56866669
San Mateo56265629
Monterey52477626
Solano47644356
Santa Barbara47268549
Merced45052667
Sonoma43127412
Placer42120470
Imperial38446773
Kings35204364
San Luis Obispo31463358
Madera26180311
Shasta26082444
Butte25441313
Santa Cruz22209224
Yolo21547257
Marin18447249
El Dorado18294166
Sutter14559186
Napa13419104
Yuba1075689
Tehama10275130
Humboldt10143118
Nevada10014105
Mendocino856097
Lassen796256
San Benito780778
Tuolumne772390
Lake7039110
Amador577066
Siskiyou474555
Glenn456636
Calaveras441288
Del Norte375442
Colusa325319
Inyo256846
Plumas19367
Mono18604
Mariposa159818
Trinity99617
Modoc7655
Unassigned2700
Sierra2180
Alpine1080
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