550 uncounted COVID deaths in Oregon due to ‘computer error’

October 21, 2021 GMT

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — During the coming weeks Oregon will add around 550 additional COVID-19 deaths — which had not previously been reported due to a “technical computer error” — to its registry, state health officials said on Thursday.

Currently, Oregon has the sixth lowest death rate in the nation, officials said. However, the missing fatal cases will increase the Pacific Northwest state’s death toll, since the start of the pandemic, by about 13%. Officials said the additional cases are expected to push Oregon’s death rate past one or two other states.

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

As a result, the Oregon Health Authority’s daily reported COVID-19 related deaths will be higher than usual until the backlog is resolved, officials said. Most of the additional deaths occurred between May and August 2021.