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Alameda County’s death toll from COVID-19 is 25% lower than expected.

Ah! The Alameda County Department of Health announced today that a quarter of all deaths are caused by COVID-1

9. In the Alameda region, it was not caused by the coronavirus.

The death toll from COVID-19 County officials were at 1,223, down from 1,634.

The 25% reduction, or 411, was due to the fact that COVID “is not the direct cause” of death in these cases. According to county health officials

County officials decided to revise the numbers after reviewing recommendations from the California Department of Health on how to classify deaths as caused by COVID-19. The new count more accurately reflects the number of deaths from direct causes or complications from COVID-19 infection.

“There are definitely people dying from causes that are not caused by COVID.”

Neetu Balram, a spokesman for the Alameda County Department of Public Health, said.

Balram was unable to provide details on the exact cause of death of the 411 people who were removed from the COVID-19 data, but she said the cases were identified after reviewing the code entered by the coroner. In CalREDIE, the state database for disease reporting and surveillance, Alameda County uses CalREDIE data to populate the COVID dashboard.

Dr. Amesh Adalja, an infectious disease expert and senior academic at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, told The Oaklandside that although some adjustments were expected, 25% “appears to be high.” Adalja said he did not. We have seen this massive adaptation in the number of deaths from other infectious diseases.

Alameda County health worker Nicholas Moss said the death toll had escaped from the coronavirus. occurred throughout the pandemic. He hopes the county’s decision to adjust the numbers will show people the county is dedicated to accurately reporting the impact of the virus.

“We know that any change like this will raise some eyebrows,” Moss told The Oaklandside. “Nothing changes our policy decisions now or during the pandemic.”

The county’s traditional approach is to identify the source of death from COVID-19. If the coroner or medical provider (such as a hospital) determines that someone has contracted the coronavirus at the time of their death

Balram said state definitions differ: Death can only be attributed to COVID-19 if the coroner or medical provider can show that the person has died. “As a direct result of COVID-19, with COVID-19 being the leading cause of death. or who can’t die from COVID-19.” The state gave the definition late last year amid the pandemic. After the Alameda region has used this method

“Clearly our definitions are broader than that of the state,” Balam said, adding that the 411 deaths that had been eliminated “Clearly it’s not covid”

To announce changes to information The county has used a sample of residents who tested positive for COVID-19 but died in a car accident. under the original definition That person’s death will be included in the total number of deaths from COVID-19, Balram said she can’t say if the actual situation played out in Alameda County.

“As states implement these guidelines, Alameda County is aware of conflicting definitions and plans to implement updates once cases and mortality stabilize,” the Alameda County Department of Health said in a statement Friday.

Ahead of Friday’s update, Alameda County’s COVID dashboard shows 1,687 deaths, far beyond the county’s old definition of COVID-related deaths. But also new deaths added since May 23, sporadically and rarely on the actual day.

throughout the epidemic County data on COVID-19 deaths It shows much less volatility caused by a number of factors, such as if someone dies in Alameda County but doesn’t live there.

Alameda County’s COVID Dashboard has several disclaimers. including the latest numbers including infection and death subject to change This includes the case of changing from “Suspect” is “confirmed” and the date the death was reported to the actual date.

“Death information may be amended from time to time. As information about the cause of death or the deceased’s area of ​​residence has been finalized,” the warning on the COVID dashboard reads.

Alameda County’s recounting of COVID cases is another example of the potential shortcomings in real-time data reporting involving multiple agencies during the global public health crisis.

Moss, who has more experience with the HIV/AIDS epidemic, said the data would not be calculated until six months after last year. He said COVID-19 data was fed daily. This gives computers less time to ensure that the reported data meets international standards.

“It’s not an excuse. It is true,” Moss said. “Unfortunately, it took us longer to get to this point than we would have liked.”

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