Alaska DHSS will now report probable COVID-19 deaths in case totals

Updated: Jan. 4, 2021 at 5:14 PM AKST
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - Monday was the first day the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services started reporting probable deaths alongside confirmed COVID-19 deaths in the state’s COVID-19 death count.

In a daily case summary release Monday, DHSS said it was changing its death reporting process so that probable deaths “based on confirmed COVID-19 clinical and epidemiological criteria, as defined by the CDC, with no confirmatory lab testing” would be a part of the state total.

The state reported three COVID-19 deaths on Monday, all of which occurred over the past several months and were added to the total count as probable deaths, DHSS said in a release.

The department said adding probable death cases to the COVID-19 death totals is in line with reporting standards from the Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists.

The deaths reported Monday were released after the department was able to conduct a death certificate review. The review process “can take several weeks” DHSS said in a release, adding that current totals are not an accurate reflection of the real-time situation.

Since the pandemic began, DHSS has reported 218 COVID-19 deaths in the state with 217 in residents and one in a nonresident.

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