Oklahoma Dept. of Health officials expected to update state’s 2020 COVID-19 death count next week

Coronavirus

OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Oklahoma State Department of Health officials say there is a delay in an audit of the state’s 2020 COVID-19 death count.

OSDH officials expected to release the number of 2020 COVID deaths this week, but the State Health Commissioner announced on Thursday that they now hope to have the results sometime next week.

“More than anything this is about surveillance. It’s not about calling into question a individual death certificate. It’s really about surveillance to ensure that we are accurately reporting the COVID deaths in the state of Oklahoma,” said Keith Reed, Deputy Health Commissioner.

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An audit is being conducted on the number of COVID-19 deaths in Oklahoma in 2020.

State officials began in March including the Center for Disease Control and Management’s provisional death count in tracking COVID-19 deaths.

OSDH’s COVID death numbers, at that time, were lower than that of the CDC’s figures, which are derived from death certificates.

State officials have a different process for counting COVID deaths, and epidemiologists began seeing larger numbers of incomplete records as cases rose toward the end of 2020, leading to an even larger difference. OSDH officials said those numbers would be reconciled with an internal audit.

Health officials anticipate the audit will show an increase in the number of COVID deaths from 2020.

Officials expect the audit results next week, but they have until the end of the month to complete the audit.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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