The Virginia Department of Health is updating its COVID-19 death totals for 2020 after learning that 165 residents had died in another state.
VDH said it was previously unaware of these deaths when they happened last year because it’s dependent on the other states to submit out-of-state death certificates to the health department. This “significantly delayed” process translated to reports from VDH in September and October after the year of death.
The state said it also reviews the information submitted to ensure the deaths were not previously reported and determines if those deaths were associated with COVID-19. The date of death for these residents will be reported in Virginia’s coronavirus dashboard.
VDH said that these deaths do not represent a large increase in the 15,504 COVID-19 deaths the state has reported as of Tuesday.
“As such, most COVID-19 associated deaths that occur outside of the state of Virginia, but are among Virginia residents, are added to VDH’s official surveillance statistics at the end of December the year after the death occurred as part of the quality assurance reconciliation process,” the state said.