Texas changes the way COVID-19 deaths are counted

Local News

RIO GRANDE VALLEY, Texas (KVEO)– The Texas Department of State Health Services is now counting COVID-19 fatalities based on death certificates. 

“I think the reason why the state is using the death certificate data is because it’s more timely,” said Dr. James Castillo, Cameron County Health Authority.

Dr. Castillo said this new logging method will help alleviate their current process. 

“We have to get medical records, examine the circumstances obviously that’s a process that was not meant when you have many fatalities coming as quickly as we have been having, unfortunately,” he said.

Dr. Castillo said they will continue doing their own investigations but there will be two separate number counts, the one from the state and the one from the county, but Hidalgo County Health Authority Dr. Ivan Melendez said this change will extend the process.

“Let’s say the doctor does it on day number 10, let’s say it took 2 to 3 days for the person from the funeral home to get that information so now you’re looking at 13 or 14 days before you turn in the information,” said Dr. Melendez.

While there is mixed opinions on the new report efforts, Dr. Castillo said they are receiving help from the state to log data.

“Extra people for data entry, extra people to look into and investigate each of these cases, again there’s been a huge surge in deaths in our county,” he said.

Dr. Castillo wants to remind the public to not use death numbers to change your behavior, as the virus is still affecting thousands. 

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