Huge jump in COVID deaths after state review of data

DOVER — Delaware’s COVID-19 death count jumped by a whopping 69 in the latest update, from 435 to 504, chiefly as a result of the state identifying deaths not previously reported as coronavirus-related.

The Division of Public Health said the revision came from identifying 67 deaths dating back to April following “a review of death certificate records from the Delaware Vital Events Registration System” and epidemiological surveillance data.

“To ensure the highest quality of data, the epidemiology team at the Division of Public Health shared its COVID-19 death data with DPH’s Bureau of Health and Vital Statistics,” DPH said. “The bureau’s staff performed a review of the death certifications in the Delaware Vital Events Registration System that list either COVID-19, or SARS CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19) as a cause of death or a significant condition contributing to death. The purpose of this review was to ensure that DPH is accurately capturing the total number of COVID-19 related deaths based on both epidemiology surveillance and death certificate data.”

The 67 deaths include 32 confirmed (already identified as a COVID-19 case in the epidemiological surveillance system but lacking a subsequent report of the person’s death) and 35 probable. Of those 35, 26 had no record of a COVID test and nine came in individuals who had previously tested negative for COVID-19 but now have COVID-19 or SARS CoV-2 listed on the death certificate as the cause or a contributing factor in his or her death.

About 75% of “new” deaths involved long-term care residents.

DPH plans to “conduct periodic reviews of its Vital Records data to identify additional COVID-19 deaths, which could lead to ongoing increases in the state’s total number of COVID-19 deaths,” the agency said.

There have been 10,847 total cases as of 6 p.m. Monday. DPH said 91 people were hospitalized, with 15 critically ill.

A total of 6,554 Delawareans had recovered, meaning they had gone at least a week without symptoms.

Individuals who have died from COVID-19 ranged in age from 21 to 104 years old. Of the 504, 267 were females and 237 were males.

A total of 239 individuals were from New Castle County, with 176 from Sussex County and 89 from Kent County.

The two most recent deaths announced today involved one man and one woman ranging in age from 72 to 85. One was a New Castle resident and one was a Sussex resident. One individual had known underlying health conditions, and one was a resident of a long-term care facility.

Helpful Coronavirus links

Delaware Division of Health Coronavirus Page
CDC: About the Coronavirus Disease 2019
CDC: What to do if You Are Sick
Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center
AP News Coronavirus Coverage
Reopening Delaware: Resources for Businesses
Delaware Phase 2 guidance

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