Brazos County Health District investigating discrepancy for COVID death totals

State Dashboard data and local county death totals aren’t the same numbers.
Published: Jan. 22, 2021 at 6:09 PM CST
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BRYAN, Texas (KBTX) - The Brazos County Health District is working to give the best information on COVID-19 for our area. But They are continuing to see discrepancies on the number of Brazos County COVID related deaths. BCHD numbers and numbers from the state dashboard aren’t matching up.

On Friday an additional death was reported in Brazos County, BCHD now reports 160 deaths for Brazos County but the state dashboard shows 167.

The health district first started noticing a discrepancy several months ago and started looking at the problems, but new discrepancies were also noticed this week.

”We are still kind of investigating that,” said Sara Mendez, Brazos County Health District Support Services Manager. “You know we continue to improve our process on that reporting and so when the state reports a death they are able to get death certificates readily available. That process takes a few days for us.”

“Keep in mind as well that there always is going to be some discrepancy between the numbers. We hope we don’t get to that 25 difference that we saw a few months ago but we may see you know some fluctuations. Hopefully we can keep that under 10,” said Mendez.

The Department of State Health Services said Friday they add to our local total whenever COVID is directly related to a death, regardless of where the Brazos County resident died.

DSHS sent us this emailed response to the issue.

“The fatality data on our dashboard comes from death certificates and are shown on the spreadsheet by the day they occurred. It includes all deaths where the medical certifier (usually the attending physician but sometimes a medical examiner or justice of the peace) determines the death was directly caused by COVID-19. It also includes deaths of residents of that county, regardless of where they die, so it might be one reason the numbers differ. Death certificates are submitted anywhere from two to 30+ days after the death occurs so the counts for past days change as new death certificates are submitted. We report the number of newly reported fatalities on the dashboard each day but those numbers are spread out across the days that they occurred in the spreadsheet.”

Douglas Loveday, Texas Department of State Health Services Press Officer

Friday’s local COVID information is here.

State dashboard numbers can be found here.

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