Amid push toward transparency, several Portland-area hospitals won’t disclose coronavirus patient tallies

PORTLAND, Ore. — On the same day Gov. Kate Brown promised more transparency in the state’s release of data about the coronavirus pandemic, several Portland-area hospital systems said they had no plans to publicly disclose data about their own hospitalizations.

At least 75 of the 266 Oregonians identified with coronavirus have been hospitalized at some point since state officials identified the first patient Feb. 28.

Under pressure from The Oregonian/OregonLive and other media outlets, Brown has now directed the Oregon Health Authority to “share all COVID-19 information with the public that does not compromise patient privacy.”

Hospital-level information, including COVID-19 patient counts, has not been released yet. But Brown said Wednesday more information will be forthcoming.

OHSU Hospital is the only local system that is regularly disclosing patient data. As of 11 a.m. Wednesday, OHSU had admitted 10 of the state’s 75 COVID-19 patients requiring hospitalization.

One of OHSU’s patients has died, three were discharged and six remain hospitalized.

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Kaiser Permanente, which reported Oregon’s first coronavirus case last month at its Westside Medical Center in Hillsboro, won’t share patient statistics about COVID-19.

“In this public health emergency, we will rely on the Oregon Health Authority to collect and share regional data,” Michael Foley, a spokesman, said in a statement.

Kaiser operates the Sunnyside Medical Center in Clackamas, where two people have died from COVID-19, according to information released by the Oregon Health Authority.

Ten Oregonians have died statewide through Wednesday.

Providence Health & Services also won’t release tallies of patients with COVID-19. Providence operates eight hospitals in Oregon.

“For now, we have chosen to report our data into the state rollup by the Oregon Health Authority,” Providence spokesman Gary Walker said in a statement.

Providence operates St. Vincent Medical Center, where two patients have died, according to the Oregon Health Authority.

Legacy Health has five hospitals in the Portland area and one in Silverton. One of its patients, at Legacy Mount Hood Medical Center, has died from COVID-19, according to the state health authority.

Legacy Health had been publicly disclosing tallies of hospitalized patients with COVID-19 but abruptly stopped Monday or sometime before.

“We did take the numbers down because the numbers were changing so rapidly,” spokesman Brian Terrett said in an email.

“We were only listing hospitalized patients but learned that a number put up at 5:00 might not be accurate because a patient may have been discharged after the number was reported,” he said. “We felt that accuracy was more important.”

Asked whether Legacy Health would commit to posting tallies going forward, in light of OHSU’s ability to provide accurate information, Terrett did not respond.

— Brad Schmidt; bschmidt@oregonian.com; 503-294-7628; @_brad_schmidt

This article was originally published by The Oregonian/OregonLive, one of more than a dozen news organizations throughout the state sharing their coverage of the novel coronavirus outbreak to help inform Oregonians about this evolving health issue.