OSDH Officials Release New COVID-19 Death Count For 2020

Thursday, October 14th 2021, 5:23 pm

State health officials released a new death count for the state from COVID-19.

The health department has been investigating more than 1,000 deaths from 2020 making sure those death should be classified as COVID.

Oklahoma State Department of Health officials have only been going through death certificates where COVID-19 is listed somewhere. The catch with these is that there is no positive COVID-19 test associated with that person.

"We estimate an increase of about 1,366 cases and 1,053 deaths," said Jolianne Stone, the state's epidemiologist.

Stone said the addition of these cases and deaths is a result of an annual review process that all states must complete and report to the CDC.

"These are cases and deaths that have occurred since the beginning of the pandemic that we have done our due diligence on to assure that they are accurately reported to the CDC," said Stone.

Stone said that most of the certificates the state's team reviewed were cut and dry, meaning they had little to no questions if the death should be considered COVID-19.

"We utilized multiple points of data," said Stone. "So, we utilized not only the death certificate data, but we also used the national case definition and there were very few that there were some uncertainties."

The addition of the deaths will bring the state's total death count closer to the CDC's. In the past, there has been a difference of about 1,000.

Moving forward, Stone said she does not think there will be any more large discrepancies between the state's numbers and the CDC's.

"Of course, this is an annual reconciliation process and so we will certainly go through and ensure any death classified as COVID-19 deaths and cases classified as COVID-19 accurately represent what happened in 2021 as well," Stone said.

Oklahoma will see the one-time jump in cases and deaths reflected in the health department's data on Monday.