OSDH Working To Confirm Accurate Number Of COVID-Related Deaths In The State

Thursday, October 7th 2021, 6:26 pm
By: Erica Rankin

Officials with the Oklahoma State Department of Health took a 10% sample of specific death certificates, which was about 100.

On the certificates, COVID-19 is listed as a cause or contributor to the death, but there was never a positive COVID-19 test associated with the person.

"We want to make sure that we are reviewing those full medical records to make sure there is an actual link and it is accurately reflecting that those individuals died of COVID,” said Keith Reed, the deputy commissioner of health. 

The deaths that OSDH officials are reviewing are not included in the state's COVID-19 death count. 

The CDC has reported there are almost 10,600 deaths from COVID-19 compared to the state's total which sits at just over 9,200. 

"What they are reporting is they are taking the information directly off of the death certificates from vital records and taking it at face value and applying it to the overall deaths,” said Reed. 

Reed said OSDH has taken an additional step to make sure to confirm if there is COVID-19 on a death certificate and no positive COVID test, it should still be listed as a COVID death. 

"If there are questions about them within the records they are looking at, they'll work with a team to try to verify information and they can potentially go back and get more information on a medical record,” said Reed. “But we’re not trying to go back to a specific medical provider and question them on their diagnosis.” 

Once completed, Commissioner of Health Dr. Lance Frye said our death count should be close to the CDC’s. 

OSDH officials said that we should have the final numbers on the deaths in the state by next week.