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DHEC analysis adds 29 to COVID-19 death total

Staff Report //April 30, 2020//

DHEC analysis adds 29 to COVID-19 death total

Staff Report //April 30, 2020//

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An analysis of state death certificates conducted by the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control has found an additional 29 deaths associated with COVID-19, bringing the statewide death total to 232 as of April 29.

DHEC cross-analyzed deaths reported directly to the agency by medical professionals with deaths reported to the agency on death certificates.

Eight of the additional deaths (.pdf) occurred in Richland County. Five were elderly individuals and three were middle-aged.

“As our state continues to respond to this unprecedented event, DHEC remains committed to ensuring that every South Carolinian who has died from COVID-19 is counted,” Dr. Brannon Traxler, DHEC physician, said in a news release. “This action aligns with efforts currently underway by other states and will assist us in more fully understanding the burden of this disease across the state and those populations who are most severely affected.”

The deaths, which occurred from March 25 to April 21, do not significantly affect South Carolina’s public health actions or projections or DHEC recommendations, the agency said.

DHEC has provided federal and state guidelines for death certifiers dealing with COVID-19-related deaths and is taking steps to improve data quality and reporting of confirmed cases and deaths related to the coronavirus, the agency said. Those steps include sending alerts to healthcare facilities and providers and contacting private labs to remind them of reporting requirements.

As of April 22, physicians and other healthcare providers are required to report COVID-19-related deaths to DHEC within 24 hours.

“It’s important to note that we are still discovering more about COVID-19,” Dr. Traxler said. “We will continue to release new information as it becomes available.”