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State resumed sharing COVID-19 hospitalization data after unspecified 'data quality' issues.

PMG FILE PHOTO - Oregon hospitals are dealing with a large number of COVID-19 patients, but do not yet seem overwhelmed by the pandemic.Oregon hospitals have yet to fill up with COVID-19 patients.

The Oregon Health Authority reported Monday, April 6, that 400 patients were hospitalized with COVID-19 or suspected symptoms, including 82 patients on ventilators to assist their breathing.

Those numbers are more than double what OHA reported last week. However, hospitals still have significant capacity. Slightly more than 42% of adult ICU beds are now in use, as are 34% of adult non-ICU beds, 56% of pediatric ICU beds and 67% of pediatric non-ICU beds.

Oregon hospitals normally operate with much higher occupancy rates but many now have far fewer patients because the state banned elective surgeries and non-urgent medical and dental procedures that would involve personal protective equipment. As a result, a number of clinics and hospitals have laid off employees. During the first three weeks of March, nearly 4% of Oregon health care workers filed for unemployment.

OHA resumed sharing the COVID-19 hospitalization data on Monday after stopping in early April due to what officials said were unspecified "data quality" issues.

"We spent time ensuring that the incoming data and data sources were all reporting in a uniform and timely manner. We believe we'll be able to continue reporting the data, " Philip Schmidt with the Oregon COVID-19 Joint Information Center said. "As always, if we discover there's reason to improve it, we'll do so."

OHA also created a new dashboard to give residents and the press "a clearer picture of the data" and show the state's progress.

Lack of consistent data, including current hospitalizations, has frustrated some lawmakers.

"Presently, the quality of data being provided by OHA is such poor quality, or simply being hidden (by) OHA, that local decisionmakers have to operate in a vacuum to make life and death decisions impacting Oregonians," said Sen. Brian Boquist, R-Dallas, a member of the Legislature's Special Committee on Coronavirus Response.

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