Alabama changes way it counts coronavirus deaths; numbers increase


Alabama and other states are changing the way they account for coronavirus deaths per new Centers for Disease Control guidance. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)AP

Following Centers for Disease Control guidance, the Alabama Department of Public Health has changed the way it accounts for some coronavirus deaths.

Previously, the ADPH’s dashboard tracking COVID-19 cases showed the number of reported deaths and the number of confirmed deaths. Reported deaths included figures provided through local health departments and hospitals; confirmed deaths were those confirmed by ADPH.

The dashboard has now changed to show only one number – COVID-19 deaths.

The change comes as a result of updated Centers for Disease Control guidance on reporting COVID-19 deaths.

“The criteria for COVID-19 death counts now include people who died with a positive COVID-19 laboratory test as well as individuals whose death certificates list, as the cause of death, COVID-19 or an equivalent,” ADPH said.

The guidance bumped the number closer to the “reported death” count and increased totals in some counties.

“Most of these changes in numbers are due to cases that have died but were not previously marked as died from COVID-19,” ADPH said.

As of 2:30 p.m. Thursday, there were 197 coronavirus deaths in Alabama.

Nationally, some 48,900 have died due to coronavirus. In Alabama, just over 75 percent of coronavirus deaths were those with underlying conditions, the most common being cardiovascular disease. Forty-five percent of Alabama’s coronavirus deaths had multiple underlying medical conditions, ADPH said.