OSDH officials release new death toll from COVID-19 for 2020
State health officials have released a new death toll for the state from COVID-19.
The health department has investigated more than 1,000 deaths as of 2020, ensuring those deaths should be classified as COVID.
Oklahoma State Department of Health officials only looked at death certificates where COVID-19 is listed somewhere. The problem 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, state epidemiologist.
Stone said the addition of these cases and deaths is the 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 start of the pandemic that we have done due diligence on to ensure they are properly reported to the CDC,” Stone said.
Stone said most of the certificates reviewed by the state team were cut and dry, meaning they had little to no questions if the death was to be considered COVID-19.
“We used multiple data points,” Stone said. “So we not only used the death certificate data, but we also used the national case definition and there was very little uncertainty.”
Adding the deaths will bring the state’s total death toll closer to that of the CDC. In the past, there was a difference of about 1,000.
Going forward, Stone said she didn’t think there would be any other significant discrepancies between the state’s numbers and those of the CDC.
“Of course, this is an annual reconciliation process and so we will definitely make sure that any deaths classified as COVID-19 deaths and cases classified as COVID-19 also accurately represent what happened in 2021. “Stone said.
Oklahoma will see the one-time jump in cases and deaths reflected in Department of Health data on Monday.