County grapples with OHA reporting backlog

PENDLETON —  Umatilla County Commissioner George Murdock expressed frustration with the COVID-19 Oregon Health Authority reporting system in his weekly report. He cautioned that the reported case numbers  do not accurately show the true counts per day.

“Our numbers for the past week ballooned on several days because of updates and adjustments to the state system and local reporting agencies,” he wrote. “In some cases the information had been delayed for more than two weeks. We are told the state system was behind and this was catch-up.”

Murdock added that the backlogged system contributed to the 2,000 one-day case count in Oregon last week. Umatilla County was also credited with 39 cases from October, most of which were deemed to be duplicates.

“In short, we really don’t know what was the actual count for the week,” he wrote.

Murdock responded to calls from some members of the public for the county to go its own way and ignore Gov. Kate Brown’s closure orders. He said that would cost the county about $15 million, some it earmarked for grants to local businesses to help them as they fight to survive the losses the pandemic has brought.