coronavirus

DSHS Adds 675 More Deaths to Texas' COVID-19 Total After Data Reporting Change

County now reporting fatalities based on death certificates where COVID-19 listed as a cause of death

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Update: On July 30, the Texas Department of State Health Services said an automation error in their new reporting method caused 225 fatalities during the week of July 27 to be listed as a direct cause of death being COVID-19 when it was not a direct cause of death. The number reported below, of 675 deaths, is no longer accurate. The DSHS revised the total number of deaths reported on July 27 to 5,489, a change of +451 COVID-19 deaths from the day before, not 675. Read the updated article here.

The Texas Department of State Health Services added 675 deaths to the growing number of people who have died of COVID-19 after changing their reporting method Monday.

On Sunday, the number of COVID-19 deaths in Texas totaled 5,038. On Monday, the number of deaths jumped to 5,713, which the state said included 44 new deaths along with 631 others who were identified through death certificate data.

DSHS officials told NBC 5 Monday afternoon the 631 other deaths would have been reported in the near future using the old method of obtaining death reports from county officials or regional DSHS offices, but that the death certificates allowed the fatalities to be reported faster and with more demographic information.

The deaths reported by the DSHS include only those where COVID-19 is listed as a cause of death and does not count people who had COVID-19 but died of an unrelated cause.

The DSHS explained the change in a footnote on their COVID-19 dashboard Monday afternoon.

July 27: DSHS is now reporting COVID-19 fatality data based on death certificates. A fatality is counted as a COVID-19 fatality when the medical certifier attests on the death certificate that COVID-19 is a cause of death. Death certificate data has identified 5,713 fatalities among Texas residents, including 44 newly reported Monday. That compares with 5,038 deaths reported Sunday under the previous method.

The DSHS said the change also means demographic data will be more comprehensive and that fatalities can now be displayed by date of death, presenting a more complete view of deaths over time.

The change in reporting resulted in an initial drop of 24 deaths in Dallas County, a drop of 10 deaths in Tarrant County, a drop of nine deaths in Collin County and an increase of 18 deaths in Denton County. It's not yet clear which cities had their death totals adjusted.

Last week, Monday to Sunday, was the deadliest week on record for COVID-19 deaths in the state with 1,092 deaths reported -- that number does not include the 613 deaths announced by the DSHS Monday. The previous high, which was only the week before, was 785 deaths.

NBC 5's Claire Cardona contributed to this report.

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