Oregon has experienced roughly 550 more COVID-19 deaths than previously reported.
The deaths occurred mostly between May and August of this year, the Oregon Health Authority said in announcing the additional deaths on Oct. 21.
Officials attributed the failure to accurately tally the number of COVID-19 deaths to a “technical computer error.”
The “deaths only became recently known to state epidemiologists due to a technical computer error,” according to an OHA press release.
“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.”
The deaths will be gradually added to the state’s official tally over the next month. The total number of Oregon COVID deaths currently stands at 4,275.
OHA continued to cite Oregon’s relatively low death rate when compared with the national average as evidence that policy efforts have worked in Oregon.
According to OHA, the addition of the new deaths means Oregon no longer ranks sixth-lowest in per capita death rate for U.S. states, but only moves up past one or two other states. If Oregon had the same death rate as the nation as a whole, OHA noted, 4,000 more people would have died here.