Hundreds more people died of COVID-19 this summer than the state previously reported, according to a press release Thursday from the Oregon Health Authority.
The agency said state epidemiologists were unaware of the deaths until recently due to a computer error. A quality assurance check in the last week revealed problems with the way OHA was gathering data from COVID-19 death records and case reports. OHA said it expects to add about 550 deaths that occurred between May and August to the state’s official total in the coming weeks. That amounts to missing more than 10% of all official COVID-19 deaths in Oregon.
The undercount took place during the worst surge of COVID-19 cases in Oregon since the pandemic began.
Earlier this month, the reported number of COVID-19 deaths in Oregon surpassed 4,000. As of Tuesday, the state’s death toll stood at 4,226, according to OHA.
The additional 550 deaths will affect Oregon’s national standing in COVID-19 death rates. “Presently, Oregon has the 6th lowest death rate in the nation. The newly reported deaths are expected to push Oregon’s death rate past one or two other states. However, Oregon’s death rate will remain well below the national average and the fatality rates of most other states,” OHA said in its press release.