Baltimore: The Maryland Department of Health (MDH) Vital Statistics Administration (VSA) has revised the state’s COVID-19 data to include deaths that were not properly classified by medical certifiers over the past year. VSA identified these deaths as COVID-19 deaths through an information reconciliation process utilizing other sources of data.
There are 517 previously uncounted confirmed cases with COVID-19 listed as the cause of death, and 21 probable cases with COVID-19 listed as the cause of death. The updated data will be reflected in this morning’s COVID-19 dashboard update at coronavirus.maryland.gov.
COVID-19 death data are presented on the dashboard by both dates of the report and by date of death, and are updated as amendments to death records are received. VSA identified, through maintenance exercises, that some medical certifiers had miscoded the cause or probable cause of death. VSA is in the process of re-issuing guidance for coding protocols to medical certifiers.
“When necessary, our epidemiologists make adjustments to reported health data as the information is reviewed, verified, and corrected,” said MDH Deputy Secretary for Public Health Services Dr. Jinlene Chan. “It is important for medical certifiers to closely follow CDC guidance when reporting COVID-19 deaths. This data is critical for the public and the public health community, and our systems and processes are designed to ensure accuracy and transparency in our reporting to the public.”
Families who have experienced a death of a loved one due to COVID-19 may be able to receive funding assistance through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for funeral expenses they incurred. Details on the program can be found here. The family member applying for the funeral assistance must upload or mail a copy of a death certificate that explicitly lists COVID-19 (or suspected COVID-19) in the causes of death or contributing causes.