Massachusetts will drop 3,700 from COVID death count
Adopts new definition of COVID-related death
MASSACHUSETTS WILL REVISE its COVID-19 death count downwards by around 3,700 people as the state shifts to using a new definition to count deaths attributed to coronavirus.
“We believe this will provide us a much more accurate picture of who has died associated with a COVID infection in Massachusetts, and it will also improve our ability to compare our data with data from other jurisdictions, other states,” said DPH state epidemiologist Dr. Catherine Brown.
At the very beginning of the pandemic, the state was counting as a COVID death anyone who died after getting a COVID diagnosis. Last April, the state started counting as a COVID-related death anyone who had COVID-19 listed as the cause of death on their death certificate or anyone who did not have COVID listed as their cause of death but who contracted COVID within 60 days of their death. The new definition reduces that time frame to 30 days. State officials will apply the definition retroactively to all prior COVID deaths.
The new approach is being taken based on a recommendation by the Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists in collaboration with the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The two national organizations are trying to create a standard definition that all states can use to account for COVID deaths.
The new definition will be reflected in the data published on the state’s website beginning Monday.