Delaware Public Media

Revised data shows Delaware's COVID-19 death toll now tops 500

Jun 23, 2020

Delaware’s COVID-19 death toll jumped by 69 Tuesday, lifting it over 500.  But Delaware’s Division of Public Health says the sharp rise is misleading.

DPH reports only two of the deaths added are new, noting the other 67 were not previously reported to the DPH Epidemiology Section as required. 

DPH Director Dr. Karyl Rattay explains they found the error in the numbers during a data check.

"We cross-checked, we looked at death certificates and realized that there were a number of cases that had not been reported to us," said Rattay. "So we dug in deep to better understand those cases and that's why they're being added now even though they are deaths that have occurred over time since March."

The state has now seen a total of 504 COVID-19 related deaths since March 11th.

32 of the 67 deaths found in the data check were already identified as a confirmed COVID-19 case, but DPH did not receive a subsequent report of the person’s death.

26 did not have a record of a lab result for COVID-19 in the surveillance system.

And nine people previously tested negative for COVID-19, but their death certificate subsequently listed COVID-19 or SARS CoV-2 as a cause of a significant condition contributing to death.

75 percent of the 67 cases added involved long-term care residents.

The two new deaths reported Tuesday involved people between 72 to 85 years-old.  One was from New Castle County and the other from Sussex County.  One had underlying health conditions and one lived at a long-term care facility.

State health officials also reported 27 new postive COVID-19 cases Tuesday, pushing the total to date to 10,847.

Hospitalizations rose for a third straight day, up 2 to 91 with 15 people critically ill.

And 95 more people are considered recovered, lifting that total to 6,554.