PORTLAND, Ore. — There are 54 new COVID-19 related deaths in Oregon, raising the state’s death toll to 1,667, the Oregon Health Authority reported at 12:01 a.m. Tuesday. The high number of deaths serves as a reminder that the pandemic continues to pose a threat to our friends, neighbors, co-workers and communities. The rising case count that surged in November and December is one factor attributed to Tuesday’s record-tying high death count. The counting of deaths from death certificates may take time to process because they are determined by physicians and then sent to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for further review before the cause of death is ultimately determined. Once this information is confirmed, the information is reported back with a final cause of death to states. This lagging indicator is now being captured Tuesday. The OHA reported 1,203 new confirmed and presumptive cases of COVID-19 as of 12:01 a.m. Tuesday, bringing the state total to 127,780.